Chevron Beads

Chevron Beads (also known as “rosetta” beads, or simply “Chevrons”) are a type of Venetian Trade Bead produced in Murano and Venice, Italy, from the 14th to 19th Century. Venetian Chevrons are categorized as ‘drawn’ beads; created by fusing multiple glass canes which are shaped using specialist star molds. This creates a distinctive star shape around the perforation hole (usually comprising 4-7 colored layers), which is often referred to as a “rosetta”. Chevron Beads produced during the 15th Century typically had 7 layered colors and 6 facets.

Chevron Bead ZSM/

Chevron Bead ZSM/

Chevron Beads comprise numerous layers of colored glass. The core of the bead, which will later form the perforation, is created from a single globule of molten glass, known as the “gather”. While still hot, the gather is immersed into a star shape mold to add the first layer of color. This process is repeated to achieve each colored layer. After several colors have been layered consecutively, the glass is drawn out, or pulled with a cane to elongate the rod, which is then cut whilst hot to form the beads. The end of the beads are then chamfered or ground to reveal the star pattern in the cross section. Early Chevron Beads were almost always red, white and blue in color.

Venetian Chevrons are among the earliest known types of beads to be produced in Venice for trade in West Africa. They were primarily intended for use as currency in unexplored territories, such as the Republic of the Congo, where merchants would exchange them for favors, animal pelts, slaves and spices. A number of small, 7 layer Chevron Beads dating back to the 15th Century have been found in Peru, and were believed to have been introduced by Christopher Colombus. Today, classic 7-layer Chevron Beads are the most highly collectible.


Gallery of Trade Beads, Ezakwantu

Chevron Beads, Wikipedia

Author: Hillary Schwartz on June 30, 2013
Category: Uncategorized
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