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Seed Beads Costantini Glass Beads

"Conterie" Venetian Seed Beads

What are “Conterie” Seed Glass Beads?

Treccani dictionary defines them as follows: conterie – Beads of different sizes and various colors, which are obtained from small tubes of glass paste or enamel cut into cylinders, which are then subjected to a special hot working so that they take on a round shape; they are used for embroideries, trimmings, jewels and ornaments.

The word “conteria” has many possible origins: from the ancient “contigia” which means ornament, or from the verb “to count” since the beads were used as a bargaining chip for centuries. But the origin could also come from a particular meaning of the word “conto”, meaning graceful, noble.

In the second half of the 19th century, the generic term conterie still included any kind of Venetian glass bead, as was done in previous centuries. In more recent times, this denomination has increasingly referred exclusively to Murano glass beads obtained from the so-called paternostreri, i.e. by cutting a perforated rod and then rounding the cylinders in ferrazze, special metal trays, when heated.

An extremely complex process that required large spaces and to be extended in length.

So it was that in 1898, the fourteen local companies that founded the Venetian Society for the Conterie Industry, moved to the enormous 22.000 m2 complex located in the heart of Murano, between Palazzo Giustinian and the Basilica of San Donato – a world of tiracanne, conzaureri, tagiadori, cavarobe, fregadori, lustradori, governori, impiraresse. A single large company that between 1940 and 1970 came to employ more than three thousand people, until it closed in 1993.

The beads were produced in many colors and this served to increase their success, the product was ingenious and aesthetically it struck everyone. They were exported all over the world: many traces remained in Venetian documents of the shipment of the seed beads, between the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the XVII, towards the ports of Calais, Lisbon, Amsterdam, from where they were then forwarded to America, Africa and Asia.

The seed beads were used and still are used to create true works of art such as jewels, clothes, accessories and furnishings.

Costantini Glassbeads owns over 950 quintals of vintage glass beads created in Murano in the past centuries both in our family factory and other Murano factories; some are almost 100 years old, some have been created specifically for the biggest fashion brands.

Welcome to the fascinating world of Costantini Glassbeads, a name that has deep roots in the Venetian tradition of the beading industry.

Ubaldo’s adventure began as a partner in the prestigious companies “Costantini Meloni Moretti” and “Costantini Valmarana” in the early 1900s, both renowned for the production of high quality beads. However, Ubaldo decided to take his own path and in 1966 he founded his own company, “Costantini Ubaldo”.

The generational transition took place in 1966, when Ubaldo handed over the company to his two sons, Dario and Cleto, the latter was Alessandro Moretti‘s grandfather.
Unfortunately, differences between the two brothers lead to the division of the factory into two separate companies. Cleto, with his experience in production, inherited the production part, while Dario received the glass beads which were ready when Ubaldo retired, marking the beginning of two distinct paths.

In 2006, Alessandro took a key role in inheriting the share of the company from his great uncle Dario, his grandfather Cleto’s brother. This makes our collection of beads a unique treasure, produced between the early 1900s and the end of production in March 2001. The beads we present today represent a fascinating journey through time, bringing with them the artisanal legacy of Ubaldo Costantini and the stories that intertwine between generations.

Explore our warehouse and immerse yourself in the timeless beauty of these Venetian beads, witnesses of a tradition that has spanned more than a century. We are proud to carry on the legacy of Ubaldo Costantini and offer you authentic works of art that tell a story of passion, dedication and craftsmanship. Welcome to the world of Costantini beads, where beauty lasts forever.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to purchase some of our vintage conterie glass beads.

Luna Pivetta Conterie Murano Glass necklace by costantini glassbeads

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If you're looking for high-quality Venetian glass beads, look no further than our online shop. We have a wide selection of these exquisite seed beads jewellery for you to choose from.