Chinese so-called "Peking" Ruby Red Glass Beads - pre WWII vs 1990s
Post Reply Edit View All Forum
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
01/09/2018, 12:42:39

The thread on Chinese bead shop signs inspired me to drag out my boxes of Chinese glass beads, purchased in the 1990s from the Dunnings at Hands of the Hills. If I remember correctly, these were beads purchased by Akha traders in China, and are worn with traditional costume.

Some beads have definitely been worn, and have satiny surfaces and flattened ground ends. The ones strung with the garnet-glass tube beads are in this category, as are the two strands of brighter red beads.

The less worn strands pictured with the handful of loose beads made in the 1990s demonstrate what seem to be differences between the older and newer beads - the older ones are more carefully made, very round and comparatively well-matched, with uniform holes; the newer ones are more like donuts, with winding marks and more bubbly glass, sloppy holes.

I dug out the 1990 Volume 2 of Beads: The Journal of the Society of Bead Researchers that contains the cover photo and article by Rick Sprague about modern Chinese beads, which shows fairly nice red beads on the cover.

So I wonder...could the beads with worn ends date to the 1930s, similar to those seen in the shop signs and before the Boshan glass factories were destroyed during WWII?
Or are they post-WWII, say, 1960s-70s, and merely abraded from a couple of decades of wear?

What about the well-made beads in comparatively un-worn condition? 1980s seems likely?

Dug out my little pocket spectroscope, and all beads (even the dark garnet cylinder beads) display a red/black selenium type spectrum.

SAM_8368_-_Copy.JPG (222.8 KB)  SAM_8369_-_Copy.JPG (234.4 KB)  

Copyright 2018
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users