Satin Beads

Notice of Upcoming Content and Access Change

The Museum is working on the future of our online collections access. A new version will be available later in 2023. During this transition period, the current version of the Collections Browser may have reduced functionality and data may be not be updated. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. For any questions or concerns, please contact us.

What is AAT?

The Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) (r) is a structured vocabulary for generic concepts related to art and architecture. It was developed by The Getty Research Institute to help research institutions become consistent in the terminology they use.Learn More

Object Name: 
Satin Beads
Accession Number: 
Overall L: 40.1 cm
Not on Display
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mrs. Arline B. Oliphant in name of Naisha Butler
Web Description: 
The Bohemian glass bead industry was at its height at the turn of the 20th century, and glassmaking was an important contributor to the national economy. The number of beadmaking firms increased as the industry moved beyond Jablonec nad Nisou, and the quantity of beads crafted for export was staggering, far surpassing the production levels of Venice. The glass industry continued to prosper through a series of political changes, from the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918 to the Great Depression. With the Depression, followed by World War II and the adoption of Soviet socialism by Czechoslovakia, the bead industry was severely damaged. But in the 1950s, restrictions on the exportation of beads were loosened and the industry was revitalized. More novelty forms in beads were created in the 20th century, along with many new types and variations of 19th-century techniques. The string of beads shown here includes conch shells made in a mint green satin glass (a glass that has the smooth appearance of satin fabric). The conch shells have a dark mold seam that runs around the shell form, showing two distinct halves with a large amount of detail that imitates the texture of a true conch shell. The small green faceted crystallike beads are a product very much associated with, and known from, the Bohemian (Czech) glass bead industry. These beads exemplify the novelty, the variation in type, and the traditional beads that this industry excelled in producing.
Oliphant, Mrs. Arline B., Source
Primary Description: 
Satin Beads. 7 opaque light green with satin finish, shell shaped in graduated sizes; 62 transparent light green facet cut bicone; 19 opalescent spiral fluted ovoid; 5 opalescent rhomboid shaped. Strung on waxed linen cord in graduated uneven repeating sequence.
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, pp. 3, 56-57, no. 36; BIB# 134720
Beads: 3,500 Years of Glass Beads (2013) illustrated, p. 11 (fig 14, bottom right); BIB# AI93926