A small polished bead, often of shell or stone, especially a small flat disk that can be strung with others of uniform size to form a smooth cylindrical strand.
Tiny, polished disks or beads made from the shells of clams, oysters, abalone, etc., or from semiprecious stones, and strung to form necklaces.
Origin of heishi
- From Keresan hishi shell, shell beads
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition