Ancient Beads Exhibit

Ancient Beads: from the private collection of Jim Kaufman

The love of beads runs deep for the owners of Baubles & Beads. For over 20 years Jim has been collecting ancient glass beads. We are excited to share part of his collection for public viewing for the first time. The exhibit is available for viewing April 25th-May 22nd in our Berkeley store. For those of you who can’t make it, we have included a few photo highlights from the show…..

Folded glass beads. Dated approximately 300BC-1000AD.

Folded glass beads. Dated approximately 300BC-1000AD.

Folded glass beads were first designed to imitate banded stone. Looking at the surface of the glass one can see the lines where the glass was shaped and folded inward. The beads range in size from 12mm-18mm. Many of the beads show wear and tear on the surface from centuries of adornment.

These strands are Pre-Islamic Iran beads dated approximately 300BC-300AD

These strands are from Pre-Islamic Iran and are dated from approximately 300BC-300AD.

Many of the beads on these two strands resemble banded agate. The surface of most of the beads is irregular begging one to touch each bead independently. Additional beads in this grouping range in size from 10mm-20mm and feature many combed beads.

This lovely Egyptian vessel is one of Jim's favorites. It dates between 1300BC-900BC.

This lovely Egyptian vessel is one of Jim’s favorites. It dates between 1300BC-900BC.

To quote Jim when asked about this bead he said, “I just loved it from the moment I saw it.” This lovely vessel measures a mere 13mm x 10mm. Notice the slight iridescence around the neck of the vessel, near the handle. This effect is caused by a chemical decomposition of the glass due primarily to prolonged contact of the object with moist and acidic soil.

These Roman beads date from approximately 300BC-400AB.

These Roman beads date from approximately 300BC-400AD.

Upon closer look at the golden beads pictured above, one can see that some of the beads are made up of gold-glass. Gold-glass is made up of actual layers of gold foil between two layers of glass. This technique was derived in Roman times. Some of the beads on the strand are made up of yellow glass. One can differentiate between glass and foil beads by holding the bead up to a light source; if the light passes through, there is no foil present.

Blue Roman glass beads from 300BC-300AD.

Blue Roman glass beads from 300BC-300AD.

Many of the beads in this collection are what is known as “eye-beads.” Eye beads and talismans were worn to ward off evil spirits and protect one from harm. The symbolism of the “evil eye” is still prevalent in today’s culture.

These beads are from Indonesia -Java dating between 1200-1500AD

These beads are from Indonesia Java dating between 1200-1500AD

To learn more about bead history we recommend two books:

The History Of Beads, from 30,000 B.C. to the Present by Lois Sherr Dubin ISBN# 0-8109-0736-4

Magical Ancient Beads Times Edition ISBN# 981-204-792-1

About beadshopgirl
My name is BeadShopGirl and I'm a beadaholic. In the morning, in the afternoon and into the night I think about them, match them and even dream about them. And here I blog; all about beads.

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