Trade beads? Any bead experts out there?

Discussion in 'Jewelry' started by Lucille.b, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. Lucille.b

    Lucille.b Well-Known Member

    Are these older? (The white spacers are plastic.) The colored beads are glass, kind of rough in shape. One of the blue ones is out of round, etc. Anything you can tell me, much appreciated. Thanks.

    beads1.jpg beads2.jpg beads3.jpg beads4.jpg beads5.jpg beads6.jpg beads7.jpg beads8.jpg
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  2. antidiem

    antidiem Well-Known Member

    Surely does appear they've lived a hard life and plenty age to them.
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  3. antidiem

    antidiem Well-Known Member

    No idea about the brass(?) beads though? Maybe newer?

    Let's wait for a bead person to respond! :cat:
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  4. antidiem

    antidiem Well-Known Member

    btw : Your pics are excellent, Lucille.
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  5. Lucille.b

    Lucille.b Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Anti. :) Figured a few side views might be important, too.

    Yes, the glass beads are bit rough --one being severely out of round, for example.

    The brass and plastic doesn't look tremendously old to me, maybe 1950's era give or take? The beads could always have been older than the rest of the piece if restrung.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
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  6. clutteredcloset49

    clutteredcloset49 Well-Known Member

    Those glass beads look like glass canes used in paperweights.

    Wonder if with the plastic beads as spacers, if it was a 1960s homemade necklace.
    Seems to me we used to be able to buy beads like that.

    What's it strung on and how are the ends joined?
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
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  7. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    they do look like old beads....
    venice maybe......

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  8. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Trade beads are a tricky subject, as they are still being made.
    They were originally made in Europe, particularly Venice and The Netherlands, but are now made in India. The round brass ones are also still being made in India.
    I am no expert, but I believe the out of round ones are recent. Old millefiore, chevron, etc. beads are more carefully made.
    The first picture are antique millefiore trade beads, with beautiful detail and an antique feel.
    The second picture are recent Indian chevron trade beads with visible flaws. Not all recent trade beads are this flawed, I selected these two to show mistakes that would not have been acceptable in the old trading days.

    Komo, yours are chevron beads as well. In millefiore beads, just like other millefiore glass, you can see little flowers. Millefiore is Italian for a thousand flowers.

    DSC07534 (640x427).jpg DSC07535 (640x424).jpg

    Lucille, your plastic beads are based on bone and ivory beads, also originally made in Europe for intercontinental trade. The bone beads are now made in India and Hongkong, just like the bone 'hairpipe' beads used in Native American jewellery.
    The one on the left is an antique one, the one on the right 20th century Hongkong.

    DSC07536 (640x425).jpg
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  9. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    yes, of course was late & i was tired....thanx...
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  10. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    I know the feeling, after a certain time my flowers turn to chevrons as well.
  11. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Well Komo, not just after a certain time, because I got my flowers and chevrons mixed up there.
    And now I'm quoting myself, which must be the forum equivalent of talking to myself. Not good:arghh:.
  12. artsfarm

    artsfarm Active Member

    Lucille, this is a jewelry supply place I've used, and they specialize in old/ancient beads (and carry newer ones as well). Maybe something can be found here, or you can write them for help with I.D.
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  13. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    that's long as you're your own best friend...!!!;):woot::woot:
  14. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    A bit OT, but if I may summarize the controversy about "Indian" trade beads:
    It is well-accepted that Native American and Canadian First Nations people did not make the beads that were traded to them; they were of course European-made. So just what is a "genuine" trade bead? Some people are of the opinion that because none were native made, there is no such thing as a "genuine Indian trade bead." Others say it means an old European bead that was actually traded to, or maybe only touched, by a Native.
    How is that to be proven? Unless one actually knew the native in question, it is very difficult. Thus for every auction of "genuine" native trade beads there is at least one person who doubts they are "genuine," often with good reason.
    Frequently the most that can be said is that a particular bead is "in the style of" beads that were known to be traded.
    And today, such beads might be made anywhere in the world, and very recently.
    For just one example, one sees auctions for "collectible" oversize (3" - 5") chevron " trade beads;" I know of no evidence that anything like that was ever traded.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
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  15. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Beads for trade have a very long history in different parts of the world.
    The beads we now refer to as 'trade beads' were made in Europe for trade with people in other continents. That could be any continent, and I think most were traded to Africa. The two millefiore beads in my photograph come from an antique African necklace that is waiting to be rethreaded.
    The name refers to the intended use in those days, and most were actually used that way. Ones that remained in Europe were probably recycled for other glass objects.
    The antique trade beads are European, but because of their popularity others started making beads in the same style. The style is now commonly called 'trade', but the value of the real antique European beads is much higher, of course.

    When I referred to Indian beads, I meant of course the beads recently made in India, something I had already mentioned, not Native American beads.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
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  16. Lucille.b

    Lucille.b Well-Known Member

    Thanks for taking a look, everyone! Appreciate the comparison photos from Any Jewelry, etc. and the link from Artsfarm. :)

    Trade beads are super tricky -- why I posted. I have a few thoughts on these. They are a bit rough, esp. that blue one. Makes me think you wouldn't find that lack of quality control on a modern piece, so wondering if the whole set is 1960's or so?

    I'm going to do one other thing. There is a bead store in town and supposedly the owner is a real expert in all ages of beads. I might just bring the necklace in next time I'm in that part of town. Will report back if there is any new info.

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  17. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Good idea, looking forward to your update.
  18. antidiem

    antidiem Well-Known Member

    Great Lucille, please do let us know! :cat:

    The only single glass "trade bead" that I think I've ever had - I gave it to my brother for Christmas long ago - so I cannot photograph it until next time I see him. I bought it in the French Quarter for a dollar many decades ago. It has a semi-milleflore design with a rooster bird fashioned on the side, similarly colored to the one AJ has shown first but with more yellow. It is not quite as bulky around as these which are less skillfully created. My brother researched it and found it was an old African bead. It was much more "ornate" than these, but wasn't "perfect" due to age and wear.
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  19. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    What about glass trade beads routinely dug up in caches on Vancouver Island, where the natives were known to trade in Russian Blues, and other assorted beads..?
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