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Folklore and History of Glass Beads and how we use them today

Folklore and History of Glass Beads and how we use them today

There are literally thousands of different types of glass beads, from gorgeous Murano-style
beads (these are Italian and can be expensive) to small seed beads used for apparel and home décor. Glass beadmaking has been around for many centuries, dating to as far back as 3,000 years ago, and are associated with the ancient Romans and Egyptians. Glass beads are used to make jewelry like pins, earrings and necklaces, as well as items like belts, handbags, clothes and jackets, and many other applications. Here is a brief folklore and history of glass beads: The Egyptians introduced new techniques to glass beads and beadmaking, such as mosaic work, and they used glass beads to replicate other precious stones like turquoise.

During the Mediterranean era, after the collapse of the ancient Egyptians, glass beadmaking was taken up by the Phoenicians (now known as Lebanon), using a technique called “Core”. The Etruscans also dabbled in glass beads during the same era as the ancient Phoenicians, combining polychrome glass beads with their gold beads. Next came the ancient Romans, who developed a large number of innovative techniques, including “Blow Pipe” to make lighter-weight glass beads. In Venice, Italy, the older techniques of ancient civilizations were once again brought back as mass-production of glass beads were on the rise. Glass beads now are used for jewelry making primarily, but also seen in apparel and accessories like belts and purses. For a stunning glass bead bracelet, you will need the following materials: approximately 15-20 millefiori glass chip beads (size should be between 4-7mm in diameter or length) and a length of memory wire or silk cording (if using memory wire, you will also need a claw clasp for the ends); to make this bracelet, simply string on the glass chip beads and secure the ends with the clasp. If you use silk cording, use knots between the beads and knot the ends for securing.

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