Skip to Main Content »

You're currently on:

Search Site
Click on image above to zoom.

Seven Layer Chevron Venetian Trade Beads 500 Years Necklace African

Product #: 57748
US Shipping: $31.98
Add Items to Cart

Title Seven Layer Chevron Venetian Trade Beads 500 Years Necklace African
Other Names Rosetta or star beads
Type of Object Drawn, multi-layered glass
Made In Venice
Traded In Africa
Approximate Age Chevrons are end of 15th century, spacer beads are late 19th to mid 20th century.
Overall Condition There is a lot of variation in the condition of the chevrons: some are suffering only from minor pitting or small end chips, others have had large pieces chipped away (and smoothed with time) or have scarring and cavities.
Bead Size Chevrons are 20-30mm diameter, 24-42mm p-p. See picture with penny for size comparison.
Strand Length 32 inches

It is a special experience to hold even one of these beads, each more than 500 years old, each on at least its third continent. I like trying to imagine 10 or more generations of people who have owned and treasured them….makes me feel a part of the human journey.

Elizabetgh Bennett


Venetian Seven-Layer Chevron Trade Bead Necklace

Additional information: Venetian Chevron beads are the most beautiful, recognizable and collectable of all of the Venetian "Trade Beads".

Chevrons beads are made by a multi-part process. They start with the making of the cane, then another color glass is added and then this is usually put into a 12 point star mold. This process is repeated for each additional layer on the bead.

Chevron beads, also called "Rosetta"and "Star" beads have been made Venice since the late 1400's and are still in limited production today.

The earliest chevrons were typically 7 layers of color and this production ran from the late 1400's through to the 1500's. There are also 8,9, and 10 layer beads from this period. The next production phase was in the 1600s-1700s and the layer count went down to 3 and 5 layer beads and the majority of these were heat rounded via the "a speo" method. The Venetian Chevron production with the highest volume of beads was in the late 1800's and early 1900's. These beads were usually 4 and 6 layer beads.

Chevron beads have been traded throughout the world, but most heavily in Africa. The Dutch traders were the first to bring Chevron beads to Africa in the late 1400's. There are certain tiny 7 layer Chevrons from this same period which are only found in Peru and are attributed to being distributed by Christopher Columbus.

Chevron beads are still being made in Venice today but in a limited quantity. They are also being made now in India and China but with a slightly different process. There are also Chevron bead makers in the world today designing and creating some beautiful beads. The two most famous Chevron bead makers today are Art Seymour, of the United States, and Luigi Cattelan, of Italy.

We get many questions about counting the layers in Chevrons. In the bead collecting world, the layers in Chevrons are counted from the inner most layer (around the perforation) out to the outermost layer. Layers are typically counted by the different colors. This can be tricky with the older 7 layer beads because the innermost layer is usually a transparent green.

Chevrons are very popular beads, and there are many large private collections in Africa, Europe and America. These beads remain in very high regard in Africa and are still worn to show prestige, at special ceremonies and are often buried with the dea.

You can see some great examples of how these beads were worn by their owners in Africa in Africa Adorned (Fisher) and The Bead is Constant (Wilson). You can see excellent examples of chevrons in The History of Beads (Dubin), Collectable Beads (Liu), and A World of Necklaces(Leurquin). However, the most informative and illustrative work on the Chevron bead is by John and Ruth Picard - Volume VII - Chevron and Nueva Cadiz Beads.