Re: Odd Andean beads
Re: Re: Andean beads -- help needed -- Karlis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/01/2020, 06:03:36

Hello Karlis,

In 1980 (if I recall correctly), when early-contact trade beads were coming out of Peru, Elizabeth Harris composed a short article for the newsletter of the Los Angles Bead Society—describing an unusual group of small glass beads, that appeared to have been made by piercing a glob of glass. She theorized that these were locally-made by artisans (possibly metalsmiths) who may have reduced trade beads to powder, melted this, and made these beads by placing the glob onto a conical surface, and manually pierced each bead. Most or all of these beads were translucent green (or greenish-yellow). I think Elizabeth gave me one—but I have no ideas where it is now.

Slightly later in time, Marvin Smith challenged Elizabeth's proposition, and said these were simple wound glass beads—and may have even been the same beads mentioned in the notebooks of Columbus. I quickly wrote to Marvin and said the beads in-question were not "wound," and appeared to have been made exactly as Elizabeth suggested. (Nevertheless, it might be possible that the glass was derived from those wound glass beads.)

These small green beads were found in a Peruvian strand that was probably mainly small faceted seven-layer chevron beads and/or Nueva Cádiz beads. These had been brought out of Peru by a Peruvian lady (whose name escapes me at the moment, but whom I met more than once). She sold some of these necklaces to Liza Wataghani—who, in turn, sold them to L.B Jones of the Cottonlandia Museum. (I was with Liza when this occurred, and spoke to L.B. on the phone that day.) So, these strands were most-likely studied by Marvin Smith and Mary Elizabeth Good, and included in their book on the Museum collections (1982).

I appraised the Jones Collection for his widow; and I went to Mississippi to document all of the bead holdings at the Museum in 2000 (or 2001). I don't recall that any of the small green beads were included. The Bead Society produced a book of bead articles from their newsletters—and I suppose Elizabeth's essay was included. I will check this if/when I come across that volume. Or when I search through my archived newsletters.


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