Italian Glass Beads: Now Available!

Glass has been around for the millennia and can be found at some of the most ancient burial sites. There are some who believe the Egyptians invented glass but more recent digs in China have revealed that glass was used before the Egyptians existed. This versatile medium can be used for dishes, lamps, windows, jewelry making, etc.. the list is almost endless.

The color of glass became a specialty for the bead societies of Italy. They would mix metals and semi precious stones with their heated liquid glass creating colors that were rich and penetrating. Some of the finished beads had a finish that would soften the color or enhance to a shiny brilliance. Methods for mixing colors were a closely guarded secret and no one left a glass society, literally!

The Italian bead collection in Sioux Trading Post was originally purchased by the owner and his wife from four bead companies on the island of Murano, near Venice. These companies are the Constatini, the Morassi, the Moretti and the Societa de Veneziana de Conterie. This last went out of business around 1990 and their entire collection was purchased by Prairie Edge at that time.

In 2012, the bulk of the Italian bead collection was sold to Shipwreck Beads in Lacey, Washington. It took sixteen semi-truck loads to move the inventory! We kept what we consider to be the best and most representative of the vintage old stock colors.

These are some of the colors used by the Plains Indians during the efflorescence of the early seed bead period. Their lovely soft tones and gradations of color made traditional Plains Indian beadwork possible. Please know that these are real Italian Vintage beads and not reproductions.