Glass Beads from the Black Sea Trade.....
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Posted by: mosquitobay Post Reply
04/15/2017, 07:17:20

The discussion with Will last month has kept me thinking about the Black Sea glass bead trade. There is obviously quite a bit more to it than first meets the eye. As we discussed, there are some obvious differences in color and style when compared to beads from Mediterranean sources of similar time periods. Some of these seem to be more crudely constructed than the Mediterranean counterparts, while others are at the same if not a higher level depending on the time period and source location.

So, I decided to go back through my old catalogs and come up with as many beads as I could that I was reasonably sure came from Black Sea sources, especially those most likely to have been made in the region.
This is such a fascinating region and one of the earliest crossroads of trade in any form. Between the Silk Road trade and the Baltic amber trade, the Black Sea region has been in the middle of it all from the Bronze Age (or earlier) onward as far as trade and culture clashes go. I won't try to go into a detailed history, there are many great articles on the internet and in some great old books for those of you that still use antiques such as hard cover books.

With the recent political upheaval in the region collectors are likely to see a lot more material on the marketplace. Hopefully it will be helpful to see a variety of beads that are known to be authentic. The pictures below do not follow any particular order, so I will try to identify them as I go.

Happy collecting, and please feel free to comment or critique,
Jan Skipper, Mosquitobay

Catalog #4860. The first group shown below (found together) are a lovely semi-translucent blue, in several shapes including a rather large flattened oval type, about 12 x 17 mm in size. These came from the eastern Black Sea region to the best of my knowledge and date from the mid to late first millennium AD.

bf339.jpg (155.0 KB)  bf339a.jpg (119.6 KB)  

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