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Venetian Trade Beads Blue A Speo Loose Africa Loose

Product #: 106007
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Title Venetian Trade Beads Blue A Speo Loose Africa Loose
Type of Object Wound and decorated glass
Made In Venice
Traded In Africa
Approximate Age Late 19th-mid 20th Century
Overall Condition Fair. Some of our beads have traveled at least three continents, and have graced numerous owners. Small chips, corrosion, and pitting are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.
Damage/Repair Pitting, chips, surface scratches, and general wear
Bead Size 14-15 mm diameter. See picture with penny for size comparison.

Additional information: The following is adapted from the writing of Jamey Allen, a bead researcher and historian:

“A-Speo,” the name given to these remarkable beads, is taken from an Italian term meaning “on a spit” and refers  to the technique with which they were made. Each bead was skewered on a metal mandrel and then heated until it was malleable enough to be shaped and rounded.  Like many bead-making techniques, this one was devised and perfected in the glass bead workshops of Venice during the 17th century. The “A-Speo” method experienced a revival early in the 20th century. Newer “A-Speo” beads were made with small sections of drawn glass cane. Various types of cane were used, but the most common was a four-layer green “star” cane which produced the popular “watermelon” style of beads. The name is an apt one—these striped beads look like nothing so much as tiny watermelons.