Venetian Glass Beads
Venetian Glass Beads – Costantini Glass Beads
From 2020, the Art of Glass Beads has been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The art of Venetian glass beads has an ancient history.
In fact, for centuries, since the late Middle Ages, the island of Murano in Venice has been the site of a process that has had immense success all over the world, that of glass beads, traditional craftsmanship handed down from generation to generation, uninterruptedly, for over seven hundred years.
For centuries the glass beads, known as murrine, chevron, millefiori, rosette, made in Murano and other European cities were brought to Africa by merchants who used them as trade goods to obtain gold, ivory and slaves.
A traded commodity since the 16th century, murrine were at the center of ancestral rites for centuries.
Venice was the absolute capital in the production and diffusion of glass beads; a monopoly which the Serenissima will keep for over three centuries and not only in Africa.
Venice, until the beginning of the nineteenth century, held the monopoly of the processing of glass beads, that is until cheaper materials were invented to reproduce them. At the height of the production of Venetian beads, various trades related to them proliferated, such as the glass masters who made the perforated barrel in the furnace, the grinders who shape the perforated glass cane beads with a water wheel, the bead makers who create the beads and le impiraresse, those who threaded the seed beads to then be able to send them in bunches around the world.
The latter were generally women who, to supplement the family salary, bundled tiny beads, called conterie, for a dual purpose: to verify that they were drilled (and therefore not defective) and to transform them into the unit of measurement of time, i.e. a skein that was equivalent to up to ½ kilo of trade goods.
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Pulled Barrel Beads
Costantini Glassbeads Store
Please explore our online shop to explore our exquisite collection of Venetian glass beads. We offer a wide selection of beautifully crafted beads that showcase the elegance and artistry of Venetian glassmaking