European trade beads history and dating

This industry was considered indispensable, and for centuries they did everything they could to keep production techniques a secret.

european trade beads history and dating-14

From the earliest times nomadic tribes have used beads for adornment, magic and bartering.

Beads are some of Africa’s oldest artifacts, unlikely to erode like other crafts.

This “trade” period peaked from the mid 1800s through to the early 1900s when literally millions of these beads were produced and traded.

Thus, the term “Trade Beads” typically applies to beads made predominately in Venice and Bohemia and, to a lesser extent, in other European countries from the late 1400s through to the early 1900s and traded in Africa and later in the Americas.

These particular Nupe necklaces are around 60 – 80 years old.

Antique Nupe necklaces often possess 18th century ‘white hearts’ – red beads with an inside white layer.

Multiple stings of antique beads are twisted together and finished off with brass coils, knotted details and a beaded edge.

The smaller the beads, the older and more valuable the necklace.

Colors included black, yellow, translucent blue, red, and the well-known Cornaline d’Aleppo.

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