White Heart Beads

White Heart Beads (also referred to as “Cornaline D’aleppo“, or “Hudson’s Bay Beads”) were a type of Venetian Trade Bead produced in Venice, Italy, between 1805 and 1900. While highly collectible, these two-tone beads are considerably plainer compared to other sought after trade beads of the time, such as Millefiori Beads, with an off-white or light yellow core enveloped by a skin of scarlet, orange or dark red glass. Historical findings suggest the brilliant red of some White Heart Beads was achieved by adding gold oxide to the glass.

Red White Heart Beads (Cornaline D'Aleppo)

Red White Heart Beads (Cornaline D’Aleppo)

White Heart Beads were traded extensively throughout Africa and North America in the 19th Century, however, the name “Cornaline D’Aleppo” is believed to derive from the old trading town, Aleppo, in Syria. Being a popular stop-off for caravanning merchants en route to the Middle East from the Mediterranean, the town became a thriving marketplace, and an important center for trade between nomadic African tribespeople and Europeans. “Cornaline”, the old French word for “carnelian”, suggests the beads could have been produced as imitations to fool African tribes.

Venetian White Heart Beads tend to be round or oval in shape, however, there is evidence to suggest both the French and Czechs produced similar beads in the 19th Century in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Although similar in aesthetics to White Hearts, Green Heart Beads usually have a green or grayish core. 

Author: Hillary Schwartz on August 4, 2013
Category: Uncategorized
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