Sewant (wampum) are beads made from the conch shell. They were purple inside and white outside. The white area was often larger. White was of course slightly less valuable than the purple inside. Beads were made from this. These beads had a huge symbolic value for the Indians for a very long time. When the Dutch came they started to use them as a means of payment as coinage was never minted here. Because the beads were so esteemed by the Indians, they used them as a means of payment.