Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beaded Jewelry by Susan: Glass Bead Primer (cont.)

Have you ever heard of chevron beads? Chevron beads are special glass beads, first created in Venice and Murano, Italy, toward the end of the 15th century. The beads are drawn into long molten rods made from glass canes with layers of alternating colors. The canes are formed in star-shaped molds and, when cool, are cut into short segments that reveal a star pattern in cross-section. Here's an example of some Chinese chevron beads used in a pair of earrings that I just listed on my Etsy site. The red, black, and white at both ends of the bead have points like a star.

Here's a link to the Green Chevron Glass Earrings:

Venetian chevron beads have been traded throughout the world, most heavily in West Africa, where they were first introduced by Dutch merchants in the late 15th century. Certain very small  seven-layer Venetian chevron beads, also made during the late 1400s, are found exclusively in the Americas, mainly in Peru, and attributed to having been introduced by Christopher Columbus.

Below is a necklace I made using blue chevron beads.

Chevron beads are very popular collectors items, and they are still highly valued in present-day West Africa, where they continue to be worn for prestige and ceremonial purposes; they are occasionally buried with the dead. Chevron and rosetta or star beads are now also being manufactured in India and in China.

I hope you are enjoying this series of posts about different kinds of glass beads. More to come soon!


  1. Nice post - I definitely learned something new!!!

  2. Thanks. More to come in this series on glass bead marking.