Fancy-type Bead

Notice of Upcoming Content and Access Change

The Museum is working on the future of our online collections access. A new version will be available later in 2023. During this transition period, the current version of the Collections Browser may have reduced functionality and data may be not be updated. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. For any questions or concerns, please contact us.

What is AAT?

The Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) (r) is a structured vocabulary for generic concepts related to art and architecture. It was developed by The Getty Research Institute to help research institutions become consistent in the terminology they use.Learn More

Object Name: 
Fancy-type Bead
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
70.3.269 D
Overall H: 1.9 cm, W: 0.8 cm
Not on Display
about 1801-1939
Web Description: 
About 1615, the Venetians began to produce lamp beads or lamp-wound beads. After they rediscovered the process of drawing canes, they were able to make unperforated canes of glass in order to create unique wound beads on iron wires, using a lamp that provided a small flame as the source of heat. Women crafted the lamp beads in their homes or in small shops, employing the various canes to decorate the beads. Each was individually fashioned and hand-wound, unlike drawn beads, which were all cut from the same cane and had an identical pattern. The makers of lamp beads established their own guild, the supialume, in 1647. It was distinct from the paternostreri, who crafted the larger, drawn beads, and the margariteri, who created the smaller, drawn seed beads. These hand-wound lamp beads were the first beads to be considered “fancy,” a term that would become well known from the 19th century to today. The 19th century was the greatest period for the production for lamp beads, and many varieties were distributed by way of sample cards. The example shown here is combed. Its colored trails were laid around the matrix of the bead, and a tool was used to drag the hot trails into one another, creating a feathered pattern. Its ellipsoid shape was the most common form. Although this type of bead was still popular at the end of the 19th century, its production seems to have ended about 1939.
Lamb, Alastair, Source
Primary Description: 
Fancy-Type Bead. One bead - Venetian Fancy - elliptical on a black body with combed pink on white trail.
Corning Museum of Glass 2013-05-18 through 2014-01-05
For 30,000 years, mankind has crafted beads from natural materials. With the discovery of glassmaking in the second millennium B.C., glass began to be used for this same purpose. Glass beads are universal. They have been produced throughout the 35 centuries of glass manufacturing, and by nearly every culture in the world. The glass beads and beaded objects on view in this exhibition are arranged thematically, comparing the manner in which diverse cultures have utilized beads, frequently for the same purposes, but sometimes for unique reasons. These themes explore how glass beads adorn the body and our possessions; how they convey messages about power and wealth, and identify the stages of human life; how they serve ritual purposes, as well as decorate clothing and objects used in rituals; and how they have been employed across the centuries as a means of exchange, both commercial and cultural. Through the centuries, beads have been made using a variety of processes. Understanding how beads were made has allowed scholars to follow the transmission of beads and beadmaking techniques across the globe. Across time and around the world, glass beads have become a common element of mankind. Through their manufacture and function, they are one of the strings that bind humanity together. “Life on a String” celebrates this common bond while also revealing the distinctiveness of different societies through their use of glass beads to celebrate their unique cultural heritage.
Glass Beads: Selections from The Corning Museum of Glass (2013) illustrated, p. 33, no. 20; BIB# 134720
Beads: 3,500 Years of Glass Beads (2013) illustrated, p. 11 (fig 11, middle left); BIB# AI93926