All About Antique Glass Beads

Antique glass beads make the best gifts and souvenirs for friends and family, as well as a great hobby for antique jewelry collectors. Glass beads were among the first items to be discovered in ancient civilizations. They had numerous uses, including for decorations and ornaments, and for trade.

A majority of antique glass beads found today are from between 1600s and 1900s, especially from West Africa. These beads made their way to the Americas through missionaries and traders and were sold to designers and collectors due to their value.

Antique glass beads also have their origins in Afghanistan, Ancient Rome and Ancient Cambodia, as well as in many other parts of Africa, Asia and Europe. The more unique the type of glass used for the beads, the more expensive they become. With today’s technology, there are numerous glass beads in the market that have been artificially made to look worn and aged. To avoid making an unworthy investment in such beads, the following are some ways to identify genuine antique glass beads from artificial ones.

Choosing the right antique glass beads

First, antique glass beads have a wider bead hole than the average contemporary glass beads. This is because the thread wears out the glass beads with time, making the hole larger. It is best to compare the sizes of the antique glass beads with your own modern beads before making the purchase.

Secondly, antique glass beads have a more aged, muted appearance, as compared with modern glass beads that are shiny and brightly colored. The aged look is because the antique glass beads have been exposed to the air much longer, and also because of friction between the glass and the owner’s skin. Genuine signs of wear on the beads mean that they are indeed antiques.

Lastly, you can buy a book about ancient beads to learn more about antique glass beads. A good book will also give you photographs of individual glass beads which you can compare with while shopping. These three tips are guaranteed to help you make the best choices of antique glass beads.

Different types of antique glass beads

Antique glass beads come in many shapes, sizes and designs. These add to the variety of your collection and suit different personalities. Antique glass beads from Japan resemble pearls in their shape and color. Germany, France and the Czech Republic produced nailhead glass beads that look exactly as they are named. These come in many different colors but are mainly found with silver linings in the bead holes.

You can also find not only round antique glass beads but also beads in different shapes. Tube glass beads from Afghanistan are one example of uniquely shaped antique glass beads. These come in golden colors and in different lengths of tubes. Antique glass beads can also be found in the shape of flowers and leaves to enhance their beauty and value, especially because they are handmade.

As for colors, ancient glass beads have no limits. The most common are brown, black and grey, but you can find cherry red, milky white and bright green beads. Find as many different colors as possible and also select more solid-looking antique glass beads. Solid beads are less conspicuous when it comes to signs of wear and age such as jagged edges and scratches.

There are plenty of design options for your antique glass beads. You can choose to buy the beads in bulk and create your own jewelry, or you can buy strands of antique glass beaded necklaces, bracelets or earrings. Whichever you choose, your antique glass beads will always complement your personal uniqueness every time you wear them.

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