Composition
Re: Very interesting! -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
12/07/2019, 14:43:59

I have pieced-together what I know from little snatches of information, mostly from antique sellers and a few collectors. A lot of what I say is "my take" on the situation. And what I say is vague because there is no real information.

A few years ago, after discussions with Deborah Zinn (Beads-L), I received some buttons that were (she said) composition made with powdered horn. And they resemble horn.

So I wonder if your buttons (or beads) have an odor (via hot-pointing) that is like keratin (?). A burning-hair smell. But this would be compounded by whatever was used to glue the dust together. I have been assuming (for Chinese stuff that may be ca 100 years old), that the glue would be something organicólike rabbit glue. But this is only a considered guess. These materials are not "plastic," and are not going to smell like plastic. Certainly not caseinóthough casein (being made from milk) would also have a musty burnt-protein odor. Casein also tends to soften just in water.

I can show the Chinese composition beads I have (when I come across them). A very few are artistic and interesting. But most of them look exactly like the beads we've already seen. Exterior colors can be differentóbut the dyes used are often fairly dull.

Funny story. In the early '70s I bought a long necklace at a White Elephant Sale at my church. The lady who donated it told me they had been hers. And she was told the beads were "fish bones, from fish that lived in the Nile River in Egypt." Of course, I did not think this was remotely possible. This cut does not resemble fish bones. These particular beads had a dyed-red exterior.

JDA.



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