The porcupine defends itself against predators with his extremely sharp and barbed quills.
Therefor a porcupine quill might rightfully called a traditional weapon of self -defence. And indeed, fashioned into single long quills on necklaces, they very well might serve as such. The Africans around here, to who I showed and explained this concept, had a good laugh, probably because it makes so much sense and they had never thought of it as a weapon of (nearly unarmed) combat. These quills can be worn as jewellery and nobody will confiscate them as weapons, like it happens with knives and guns and spears.
They look pretty and can be made fashionable like this:
In order to use these quills in e.g. jewelry making more than the usual preparations are necessary. First they have to be thoroughly cleaned in hot soapy water, dried and de-barbed and de-sharpened. This can be achieved with fine scissors and a fine file. Sometimes they are filed down to such an extent, that the tips are almost rounded. This makes sense in most cases. And if this is not done, they remain relatively safe for wearing, but stay sufficiently sharp to pierce potential attacker’s eyes or hands etc. Unfortunately we have to think in these terms in South Africa. They are more handy and unobtrusive than pepper spray and I think I found out a real useful addition to self-defense gadgets. Then they have to be hollowed out (the center is quite soft) in order to attach them to e.g. beading wire or they can be pierced for the same purpose.
The Canadian and US Indians are famous for their quill crafts (see previous blog post).
I use quills from accidents on the farm where I live. The porcupines often cross roads and then become victims of road kills.
Let me give you a brief overview on the porcupine as compiled by “National Geography”
Porcupine Erethizon dorsatum