4 Cornaline d'Aleppo Beads

Object Name: 
4 Cornaline d'Aleppo Beads

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Object Name: 
4 Cornaline d'Aleppo Beads
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
70.3.217 B
Small Bead H: 1.9 cm, W: 1.1 cm; Large Bead H: 2 cm, W: 1.4 cm
Not on Display
Web Description: 
One of the most prevalent types of multilayered Venetian beads is the cornaline d’Aleppo (carnelians of Aleppo) or white heart. Carnelian, a stone that is prized by many cultures for its deep red color, was used for centuries to make beads. Aleppo is a city in Syria. It is not clear why the glass beads were given this name; aside from the color, neither the stone nor the city has anything to do with the beads. The earliest examples, which were probably made in the 17th century, had an opaque red exterior and a green interior, and the thin tubes or small, round beads were produced by drawing or winding. In the 1820s and 1830s, the colors changed to a translucent red exterior and an ivory to white interior, and new shapes, such as larger cylindrical forms, appeared. Varieties with yellow centers made by winding (e.g., 70.3.217C) began to be manufactured in the 1830s. In later cornaline d’Aleppo beads, selenium was used to color the red glass, producing a strong orange- red shade. Exploration and colonization of the world by Europeans was a significant reason why Venetian beads became so popular and demand grew so quickly, beginning in the 15th century and continuing into the 19th century. European explorers quickly realized how much beads were revered by foreign cultures that were unaware of glass as a material. Beads were traded for diverse natural resources and land. Cornaline d’Aleppos were important trade beads for both Africa and North America. Some examples, including the ones illustrated here, were purchased in Ghana. They continue to be found on archaeological sites and in markets.
Lamb, Alastair, Source
Primary Description: 
Four beads, Corneline d'Aleppo, cylinder; red translucent; thick outer coat on a white core.
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. 32, no. 19; BIB# 134720
Beads: 3,500 Years of Glass Beads (2013) illustrated, p. 11 (fig 10, upper left); BIB# AI93926