View Full Version : The Age of Beads

08-19-2004, 01:33 PM
Hello :wave:

This is the first time I have posted / visited here and I wanted to say all the pictures of the work I have seen posted here really are beautiful pieces!
I do have a question, I was at a bead show this past weekend and bought some seed beads from someone who said they were from the 30's or 40's, I can't remember which. I was so excited about the colors and price (1.00 per hank) it never occurred to me to ask, how he knew how old the beads were. Is there some sort of markings, clues, or guidelines that I could use to tell myself? I would hate to make something using them and mislead someone about these beads. Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Meg :D

08-19-2004, 05:49 PM
Welcome to Wet Canvas Meg! Can't answer your question but I guess you could always say that they were sold to you as vintage glass... does seem really cheap for vintage glass though? Are they at all scratched or worn looking?

08-20-2004, 04:59 AM

Welcome to the wearable arts forum :)

Indeed that is way cheap for vintage glass. Usually one STRAND of vintage glass seed beads from 1900 goes here for 4 EUR....

It is not easy to identify old beads. Usually they look a bit less shiny than similar ones in a new condition. Often they may have colors that are not being produced anymore, but for that you would have to know the color palettes of Czech/Bohemian/German beads from that time, or at least nowadays. Post a pic? I do not consider myself an expert, but I have been working with vintage materials from reliable sources for a long time. Maybe I know those beads ...

But it is generally difficcult to identify beads that are younger than lets say 100 years. The glass does not show the age well enough yet.

08-20-2004, 08:17 AM
Hi Meg, welcome to wearable arts. It is very difficult to tell with "vintage" beads. If they are overstock from a warehouse and were never in circulation they could still be in very good condition so it doesn't necessarily mean that the vendor wasn't telling the truth. As was mentioned before the colours may be a clue. Fiona

08-20-2004, 03:18 PM
Thank you for the replies, so quickly. I am afraid I am not very knowledgeable about the colors that would be associated with that time period. There seemed to be a wide range of colors, some with an AB type shine to them, I thought there was some gorgeous blues and oranges. The cut and size on the beads was not uniform in anyway. Some seem to be chopped at weird angles and such. I will try to take a picture over the weekend and post it on Monday; I only have access to a computer while at work. But even to start your sharing with me has been helpful, thank you again.
Meg :D

08-20-2004, 03:35 PM
Hi Meg and welcome to the Wearable Art forum.

We have a dayly chat thread called Wear Its At where we just talk about anything that comes to mind so if you would like to get to know some of the members you could stop by that thread sometime. We also have a daily Show & Tell thread where people post pictures of their work and other artists give them feedback on it.

I know very little about vintage beads except that it is a very iffy thing because people don't even agree what constitutes vintage. We have a thread going about the term vintage called Define Vintage (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=189043). Thought you might like to check it out so here's a link.