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Product RARE, 17th Century, Chevron necklace (perfectly matched)
RARE, 17th Century, Chevron necklace (perfectly matched)
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RARE, 17th Century, Chevron trade beads (28mm X 38mm), beautifully matched and graduated, 19.5" long. It is claimed that Maria Barovier "invented" the Rosetta bead in the late fifteenth century. It was later called a chevron bead by Northern European merchants. The name indicates the chevron military rank device which appears on the beads surface after grinding. Rosetta beads have always played an important and valued role in trade with the colonies. They are present throughout Africa in ceremonial costumes and royal treasuries, and they are always considered valuable savings. The approximate age of these beads is late 1800s to the early 1900s. The overall condition of these beads is excellent. “Rosetta Bead: A drawn-glass cane bead with an internal pattern of multiple-layer construction. Star beads, specifically, are Rosetta beads with starry patterns. Chevrons beads, specifically, are star beads with their ends cut or ground down.” (Dubin, 1987)
“Perhaps no other bead has been as popular as the chevron. First invented by the Venetians, they continue to be produced up to the present time. Throughout the seventeenth century, the Dutch also manufactured chevrons after Venetian glass makers lost their tight control on the industry. For almost five hundred years, these beads have been produced in the many millions and in several hundred varieties. . . Chevrons are a specialized cane or drawn-glass bead. They are formed by forcing or blowing a single- or multiple-layered gather of glass into a tapered mold with corrugated sides, thus producing points on its outer surface. This pleated gather is subsequently encased with additional glass layers of various colors, which may again be molded to produce further outer layers with points. Finally, stripes may be applied to the surface. Still viscid, this multilayered, hollow gather is then quickly drawn into a cane (hence the terms “drawn” or “cane”) of at least six feet, cooled, and finally sectioned into beads. These sections are often reheated or ground to produce a more finished product in various new shapes.” (Dubin, 1987 p. 117)
These beads have been traded across at least three continents and graced many owners; their patina attests to their age and use and includes small chips, pitting and corrosion. To see some rare and fabulous examples of chevron beads read the Picards' Volume VII - Chevron and Nueva Cadiz Beads and The History of Beads by Dubin. Finally, these beads have been strung together using a laborious and intricate macramé technique.


To have survived to the present, these beads have been cherished by their previous owners. To best care for this necklace, it is recommended that you store it flat and separate from other jewelry to reduce the chance of damage to your beads. We hope you enjoy and treasure your necklace as much as its previous owners have!