Trade Beads Antique & Vintage
Most of these beautiful glass beads were used in the fur trade with the American Indians originated in the glass factories of Murano, Venice. The same beads were traded in Africa, Asia, S. America and around the world for gold, ivory, tea, opium, etc.
Beads have been made for thousands of years, they were originally hung on a cord to count prayers and gradually became a symbol of prayers. The word "bead" is actually derived from the Middle English word "bede", meaning prayer. Beads were used by the ancient Egyptians as decorations and as prayers when they were put on their mummies and mummy cases. They have been found in burials of many cultures: American Indian, Saxon and the Roman catacombs to name just a few. Most of the beautiful glass beads that were used in the fur trade with the American Indians originated in the glass factories of Murano, Venice.
NOTE: Often bead strands will have a few beads of another type mixed in. Most collectors take strands apart to restring and view a slight mix as a bonus, getting some different beads without buying a different strand. Some choice/rare beads are found on mixed strands. If you need unmixed strands please let us know when you order so we can check stock.