The story of one necklace

The strand of old and ancient beads, Catalogue 35

In many cultures there are beads that are treasured and passed down through the generations as heirloom beads. When a bead is worn it gains something from the wearer and this 'something' carries forward to the wearer of today. Collectors look for beads for many different reasons. Veronica particularly loves a bead that has a history for it connects her to its past.

This necklace illustrates some of these attributes.

In ancient times beads had a high value and possession of them was a symbol of of power and prestige similar to the possessions of gemstones today. There are archaeological discoveries all over the inhabited world that demonstrate the vast distances that beads would travel thousands of years ago. Today beads still travel and this necklace is an example of how they have traveled from Africa, China, Tibet and, Europe, via Indonesia into Veronica's collection where she has recombined them into this strand.


Central Jatim mosaic bead flanked by two old possibly Indo-Pacific beads. On the left is a black Venetian eye-bead from Borneo (18th-19th cent) and on the right a Chinese 'coral' glass bead from Tibet. (possibly 18th cent)                           


 Going right to left from the center there is an old dark blue barrel bead, possibly Indo-Pacific, A black Venetian eye-bead and a red Venetian eye-bead traded into Borneo in the 18th century, On either side of the red bead are two Mali Djenne beads ( 700 to 1200 yrs old)

Farther to the left, after the Mali beads there is another mosaic bead and an old Balinese silver bead.


The next center bead  in this image is a small 18th-19th cent Venetian millefiore bead found in Borneo

Finally on the left there are two red Chinese 'coral' beads, a blue black and lighter blue Indo-Pacific bead and an old Balinese silver bead.

Going up the right side from the center are similar beads, Chinese coral glass, Venetian eye-bead, Mali Djenn bead and old Balinese silver. At the top of this image is a Venetian striped bead

Towards the end of the right side are three unusual beads.In the center of this picture is a Ming period blue glass bead traded into Nusa Tenggara. It is possible that the Chinese were replicating turquoise, but then again it may have been enough for the bead to be a beautiful blue. Beside this is a Venetian eye bead and a black bead with white stripes. Both between 200 and 300 years old.






  • You have written a beautiful piece, one can only imagine the stories these beads could tell

    Samantha Williams
  • Truly an heirloom piece!
    Wonderful balance and combination of colours.

    Christine Encel

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