Munsell Bead Color Book Great Concept but How is it IRL? Edited
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Posted by: AnneLFG Post Reply
08/21/2019, 04:25:59

As some of you may know the Munsell Color Company developed a physical system aimed at a Universal Color Reference, almost a century ago and called the Munsell Color Order System- based on Color Hue, Color Value and Chroma (purity or the inclusion of other colors). This has been modified and updated through the years,
The Bead Color Reference has found use with Museums, Archaeologist excavating glass beads, Bead Researchers, and anyone trying to communicate bead color in a more objective manner.
One of the first references I saw to the Munsell Bead Color Chart was contained in an Academic publication analyzing a North American excavated Trading Post site which yielded a nice variety of early European Trade Beads. The ability to match the bead color on a chart and reference that color for others seemed invaluable, of course.

However, in reading the reviews on Amazon Books I'm thinking that this portion of Munsell's Color Reference- the Bead portion, may have fallen short. The several reviews are NOT complimentary and say awkward to use, and not done as well as, say, the Color Reference on Soil or Rock Color Samples.

Alice Scherer, Secretary/Treasurer of The Society of Bead Researchers had this to say, also explaining that in 2011 Munsell set out to create a bead color book that could be used by archaeologists, art historians, bead and beadwork scholars, and others.

Let me be clear I feel a great debt is due to both Alice Scherer, Karlis Karklins and Laurie Burgess for their learned participation and input in this Project and be clear in no way disparage their effort! The complaints most probably have nothing to do with their input and seem more directed towards technical issues such as the size of the binder, the color update fluidity/continuity, and other things beyond their control :

The Munsell Bead Color Blog:

More info from an Early Medieval Bead Researcher on the Munsell Blog:

I have several questions:

1.) Have you used the Munsell Bead Color Book?

2.) What did you think of it- such as ease of use and Value?

3.) How could it be improved, such as Cost so that more of us in the Bead World could have access to it and be able to more easily Reference it in our Bead discussions as needed?

4.) Wouldn't an Open Source alternative- For example, releasing public specifications for printing (so that independent researchers can produce their own copies) be superior? The concern for an open source option would be that individuals would need to make sure their printing setup was calibrated properly so as not to produce erroneous reference. Is that a challenge that could be easily solved?

At a cost of $159 it had better be good! What do other's think? Have you used it, and would you recommend it- or is it only for "Museums, Researchers and Academics"

5.) Wouldn't you like to be able to add the Bead Munsell Color I.D. into your Post about the bead you are discussing or investigating? I can see a great usefulness.

6.) How can we make this happen?? Open Source? Input Please.

Bead lover, collector since Age 15, semi-retired had wholesale/retail bead, folk art, tribal art store Lost and Found Gallery for 25 yrs. in DT Greensboro, NC

Modified by AnneLFG at Thu, Aug 22, 2019, 02:43:04

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