Thursday, August 2, 2012

Beads, Beads, Beads...


Vintage "Dutch Tomato" trade bead necklace; Beads are about 200 years old. The beads were originally manufactured in Venice, Italy on the magic Island of Murano which sits right off the Venetian harbor. Most Venetian trade beads were made there, and eventually ended up in Africa, South East Asia, and North and South America through the trade routes of the great Venetian navigators and merchants. Dutch Tomato beads are a type of seed bead that were traded a lot during the African slave trade, and served as one of the earliest forms of trade currency in that region. The indigenous people of sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, Including Native Americans, placed a high intrinsic value on these tomato beads.  These beads were highly sought after in Africa where beads and other colorful decorative items were truly valued.  The Dutch Tomato beads were largely traded in Ethiopia where most of these beads are found today. They get their name from their color and shape and their brilliant semi- translucence. These glass beads, they have an irregular rounded shape with a brilliant luminescent shade of red. The glass beads measure roughly 5/8 inch long by 1/2 in width at center: The bead strand measures 21 inches of actual beads. There are 36 total beads which are all in good condition with no cracks. Some pitting to glass and a well worn and polished patina.  



 Vintage Venetian "American Flag" Red, White and Blues Trade Bead Necklace. A beautiful strand of 59 "American Flag" beads, manufactured in Venice during the first or second quarter of the 19th century.  Beads measure roughly 1/2 inch each and the total beaded part of the strand measures 26 inches, with 2 inches of exposed raffia at the clasp end. The strand weighs roughly 9 ounces.The Red, White, and Blue, Venetian beads were traded extensively in Africa throughout the nineteenth century, where they were truly valued by many different indigenous tribes. These "American Flag" beads were traded mostly in Sub-Saharan African countries. Venetian beads were used as a trading currency in Africa up until Colonial times when Western European currencies eventually displaced local currencies.  Today, antique Venetian beads are still rare and valuable, but are mostly collected by Westerners who value their high level of craftsmanship, beauty and scarcity.  Each bead is hand-made and unique. This strand is in good shape with moderate wear and a nice vintage patina from years of wear.

Vintage banded agate trade bead necklace. A beautiful strand of  16 beads. Each bead measures roughly 1 1/4 inches.  Beaded part of the strand measures 22 inches total with 4 inches of wrapped cotton at clasp end of the necklace. Probably mined and hand cut in Egypt in the last quarter of the 19th century, or at the beginning of the 20th century. The strand weighs roughly 3 1/2 ounces.  Banded agate trade beads were traded extensively throughout Africa, where they were truly valued and prized by many different indigenous peoples, beginning with the Ancient Egyptians who prized banded agate above many other precious and semi-precious stones. These semi-precious stone beads were traded mostly in Sub-Saharan African countries. Trade beads were used as a trading currency in Africa up until Colonial times when Western European currencies eventually displaced local currencies.  Today, antique trade beads are still rare and valuable, but are mostly collected by Westerners who value their high level of craftsmanship, beauty and scarcity.  Each bead is hand-made and unique. This strand is in good shape with moderate wear, a few hairline cracks, and a nice vintage patina from years of wear. Please contact daisyponcho@gmail.com if you have any questions or would like to purchase one of these beautiful strands of vintage trade beads.

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