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Place or period of origin
African trade beads or slave beads may be antique beads that were
manufactured in Europe and used for trade during the colonial period,
such as chevron beads; or they may have been made in West Africa by and
for Africans, such as Mauritanian Kiffa beads, Ghanaian and Nigerian
powder glass beads, or African-made brass beads.
Austrian crystal is a generic term for cut lead-crystal beads, based on the location and prestige of the Swarovski firm.
Czech glass beads are made in the Czech Republic, centralized around an
area called Jablonec nad Nisou. Production of glass beads in the area
dates back to the 14th century, though production was depressed under
communist rule. Because of this long tradition, their workmanship and
quality has an excellent reputation.
Vintage beads, in the collectibles and antique market, refers to an
items that are at 25 or more years old. Vintage beads are available in
materials that include lucite, plastic, crystal, metal and glass.
Miscellaneous ethnic beads
Tibetan Dzi beads and Rudraksha beads are customary for making Buddhist
and Hindu rosaries (malas). Magatama are traditional Japanese beads, and
cinnabar was often used for beads in China. Wampum are cylindrical
white or purple beads made from quahog or North Atlantic channeled whelk
shells by northeastern Native American tribes, such as the Wampanoag
and Shinnecock. Job's tears are a popular seed bead among Southeastern
Native American tribes.