Chevron Bead

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Object Name: 
Chevron Bead
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
66.3.10 A
Overall H: 4.5 cm, W: 5 cm
Not on Display
about 1600-1700
Credit Line: 
Gift of J. J. Klejman
Web Description: 
Glassmaking was already an established and important industry in Venice when chevron beads began to be produced around 1500. Beads were being made there as early as the 13th century, many for rosaries and other religious purposes. However, the rediscovery of how to draw hollow canes, about 1490 or earlier, transformed the Venetian beadmaking industry. Earlier, beads had probably been formed by the simple winding technique. Drawing allowed for the creation of new types of beads, of which the chevron or rosetta was the most famous example. Chevrons are multilayered beads, with some layers molded to form the iconic starshaped design seen on the interior. After the hollow tube of layered glass was drawn, it was cut into individual bead sections and finished by hand-grinding or tumbling to reveal the star-shaped interior. The earliest chevron beads, made in the 16th century, usually have seven layers, six hand-ground facets on the ends, and 12-pointed stars. From the late 16th century, chevrons were produced with fewer layers (four and six layers became the standard types in the 19th century), and beadmakers experimented with more colors and shapes. This example exhibits the typical colors of the Venetian chevron bead: it has six layers of red, white, and blue. The ovoid shape became one of the most common forms, as it was ideally suited to display the interior star pattern. This type and many others were exported to Africa, where they were considered by many cultures to be the most powerful and most valuable beads. There, they were worn only by the highest-ranking members of society.
Klejman, J. J., Source
Primary Description: 
Chevron Bead. White, blue, and red probably non-lead glasses; cased, drawn, and ground. Chevron - white core; large bead.
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, o, 30, no. 17; BIB# 134720
Beads: 3,500 Years of Glass Beads (2013) illustrated, p. 10 (fig 9, bottom); BIB# AI93926
Life on a String: 35 Centuries of the Glass Bead (2013) illustrated, p. 7; BIB# AI94015