Glass Beads

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Glass Beads


small, round or many-sided beads made from transparent or colored glass (less frequently, from metal), with holes for threading.

Necklaces were plaited and parts of clothing were woven from strings of glass beads as far back as ancient Egypt. Venice, which took the secret of glass bead production from Byzantium in the tenth century, supplied beads to many countries of the world. In the middle of the 18th century, M. V. Lomonsov began the production of Russian glass beads. The enamel luster and shimmering of the grainy surface of glass beads give particular liveliness to the rich gradations of color in handbags, tobacco pouches, and covers (for vessels, chibouks, and walking sticks) woven out of glass beads, as well as in many thematic embroidery panels (with milk-white or opalescent backgrounds in the 18th century and turquoise or lilac backgrounds in the first half of the 19th century). After the 1860’s, the art of embroidering with glass beads developed only in the folk crafts, which mastered it in the mid-19th century.


Dudareva, V. A. Biser v starinnom rukodelii. Moscow, 1923.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Think of Milton, Shakespeare, Washington, standing before a reverent world tricked out in the glass beads, the brass ear-rings and tin trumpery of the savages of the plains!
Some chiefs had ornamented their necks with a crescent and collars of glass beads, red and white; nearly all were armed with bows, arrows, and shields and carried on their shoulders a sort of net containing those round stones which they cast from their slings with great skill.
There, spread forth, without regard to order--indeed, we may say, in charming disorder--are the showy stuffs, the glass beads, the ivory tusks, the rhinoceros'-teeth, the shark's-teeth, the honey, the tobacco, and the cotton of these regions, to be purchased at the strangest of bargains by customers in whose eyes each article has a price only in proportion to the desire it excites to possess it.
Men voyaged by thousands to the West: some to barter glass beads, and such like jewels, for the furs of the Indian hunter; some to conquer virgin empires; and one stern band to pray.
Finally one of them, an elderly man, with a necklace and bracelet of great lustrous glass beads and the skin of some beautiful mottled amber-colored animal slung over his shoulders, ran forward and embraced most tenderly the youth whom we had saved.
Around the neck thus ensheathed, was a collar of cylindrical glass beads, diverse in color, and so arranged as to form images of deities, of the scarabaeus, etc, with the winged globe.
She was one of the blackest of her race; and her round shining eyes, glittering as glass beads, moved with quick and restless glances over everything in the room.
And several times a week a coast caravan came in with trade goods,--ghastly glazed calico that made you shudder only to look at it, glass beads value about a penny a quart, confounded spotted cotton handkerchiefs.
The Fired Up box comes with 6 fighters, each having its unique personality and amazing character design, 6 fighter mats, 1 Big Arena board, 60 highlights, 1 betting board, 8 attack dice, 7 defence dice, 25 influence dice, 10 wooden bleed tokens, 10 yellow glass beads, 1 Purple glass bead, 10 Red glass beads, 5 blue glass beads, 5 wooden VP tokens, 5 cardboard speed tokens, 10 cardboard Fired Up round tokens, 30 Bidding cards, and a Rule Book.
Glass beads on red woolen cloth and dark brown velveteen, edged with silk ribbon.
Among the fillers used for plastics reinforcement, glass beads have gained high interests due to their unique properties [4].