1800s & 1900s BLACK, GREEN & COBALT BLUE AFRICAN TRADE BEADS GLASS NECKLACE 22" ON HAND-CUT AMERICAN DEER SKIN LEATHER STRAP
About Our Antique Artifact Love Beads:
In the 1960s Hippies, high on all varieties of intoxicants, would string beads together, and trade them. When I was about 11 or 12 I began to collect Millefiori [million flowered] African Trade Beads. I still have most of my first few.
Others were traded to me, or 'bought' in both cases: It was exclusively a hippie thing. Only hippies had them to sell or trade.
This was the 1990s. We were wearing and collecting complicated glass art. The height of artistic excellence in Venice Italy circa the 1600s-1700s. These are the days of the Crusades, the Silk Road, the Indigo Road, the Spice Road and in America...The Fur Trade!
Nobody took the same currency, but native people loved color. All over the world, natives people loved self-adornment, all over the world, native people loved artful expressions with various color options. All over the world native people only had plant dyes or naturally occurring colored substances to wear. Purple could only come from hand cut and hand drilled crystal amethyst beads (or another purple stone) or from shells, or maybe wood or bone, dyed with squid ink, etc.
Venice, Italy, and Bohemia (Czechoslovakia) decided to corner the market on the international currency of every trade of the day: Glass Beads.
Imagine a Crusader, a Slave Trader, A Cotton or Fur Ship...Imagine their last stop before getting the men, and their food and beer...what would any natives in the entire world want? MAGICAL LOVE BEADS!
Ship space is at a premium. Ever see a 17th Century Ship Captain's cabin? He had millimeters. Space for everything had to be considered a valuable investment, to prepare for whatever or whomever they encountered, wherever they ended up. And the global seas, with a map, that could get ruined or blown or washed away, and no motor, just fabric sails...could take a ship to very unpredictable destinations. As valuable as gunpowder, was beads!
Try to fathom the seductive and mind-boggling allure of frozen but not cold, liquid--rich colors, that never dull, and are basically precious gems (they can't be replaced once the trader is gone). Imagine someone who has never seen glass. What does that person want to be crammed into a pirate's trunk on a ship? Pearls?
Not really! They wanted the traders to stop off in Venice and Prague in particular, be able to cram trunk loads of ship cargo, with minuscule radiant droplets of seductive and radiant never dulling colorful self adornment objects--Already made, NO drilling or carving or grinding needed...In a variety of sizes and colors, some unknown before. Many of them with a translucency that was considered holy and magical...and was likely sold as such.
You will love our love beads! Make them yours, forever! You will be wearing real history. Enjoy these cultural artifacts as your new fashion accessories.