3 Imitation Carnelian Beads

Object Name: 
3 Imitation Carnelian Beads

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Object Name: 
3 Imitation Carnelian Beads
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
7.5 cm x 1.2 cm
Not on Display
about 1801-1970
Web Description: 
Bohemia (what is now the Czech Republic) had developed a glassmaking industry as early as the eighth or ninth century, an industry that probably included the production of glass beads. The first glass manufactories were founded in the 14th century, their output continued to increase, and Bohemian glass became well known for its high quality. The glass bead industry began as a reaction by Bohemian stonecutters to Venetian competition, as the Venetians were making inexpensive imitations in glass of the garnets with which the stonecutters worked. This led to the development of “composition,” a formula consisting of silica, saltpeter, lead, and gold. When combined, they produced a deep translucent red glass that was perfectly suited to the imitation of garnets. An important 18th-century invention for the Bohemian bead industry was the twopart tong mold, which allowed for the easy shaping and perforation of glass beads. In the 19th century, glass beads became an important industry centered in Jablonec nad Nisou, and both production and trade of Bohemian beads grew quickly. As in Venice, a cottage industry developed in which canes were sent to home workers who employed the tong molds to make beads and then ground or fire-polished them in order to remove the mold seam. These long, heavy faceted beads were probably made in imitation of garnets or other red stones, such as carnelian. Their color and faceting re-create the materials and products that were made by the stonecutters of the region. Bohemia would continue to be a force in the production and distribution of glass beads throughout the world, and it was in constant competition with Venice.
Lamb, Alastair, Source
Primary Description: 
3 Imitation Carnelian Beads. Long Faceted Bicones - eight facets with highly polished surfaces in rust color.
Corning Museum of Glass 2013-05-18 through 2014-01-05
For 30,000 years, mankind has crafted beads from natural materials. With the discovery of glassmaking in the second millennium B.C., glass began to be used for this same purpose. Glass beads are universal. They have been produced throughout the 35 centuries of glass manufacturing, and by nearly every culture in the world. The glass beads and beaded objects on view in this exhibition are arranged thematically, comparing the manner in which diverse cultures have utilized beads, frequently for the same purposes, but sometimes for unique reasons. These themes explore how glass beads adorn the body and our possessions; how they convey messages about power and wealth, and identify the stages of human life; how they serve ritual purposes, as well as decorate clothing and objects used in rituals; and how they have been employed across the centuries as a means of exchange, both commercial and cultural. Through the centuries, beads have been made using a variety of processes. Understanding how beads were made has allowed scholars to follow the transmission of beads and beadmaking techniques across the globe. Across time and around the world, glass beads have become a common element of mankind. Through their manufacture and function, they are one of the strings that bind humanity together. “Life on a String” celebrates this common bond while also revealing the distinctiveness of different societies through their use of glass beads to celebrate their unique cultural heritage.
Glass Beads: Selections from The Corning Museum of Glass (2013) illustrated, p. 52, no. 33; BIB# 134720
Beads: 3,500 Years of Glass Beads (2013) illustrated, p. 11 (fig 13, upper right); BIB# AI93926