In London since the middle ages we still have historic professional Guilds-,- the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, and the Gemmological Association, that traditionally educate, uphold standards and protect the related professions.
In British academic and Museum curators’ circles, a number of prominent scholars and archaeologists engaged in excavations (in the middle east in particular) loved the wonderful ancient bead jewellery that was being discovered, collected and researched.
In 1977 the original Society of Jewellery Historians, a registered charity was established in London UK-
see < https://www.societyofjewelleryhistorians.ac.uk
In 1980, serious bead collectors of that generation such as the late Lady Gloria Dale, and the late Margaret Guido (“Peggy” of the Sutton Hoo jewellery finds) and many linked to the Great Museums in London, set up The Bead Study Trust, as a registered non-profit charity to promote research and offer assistance for travel expenses- to encourage bead research projects, many reports were published in the regular Bead Study Trust newsletter posted to members long before the advent of the internet.
The trust did not advertise, but in 2003 published “Ornaments from the Past” a collection of its research papers as a book, and was interested to catalogue the Beck collection which is held in Cambridge in the archives of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Over the years meanwhile Bead Collectors at every level from enthusiasts, hobbyists and re-enactors to scholars all over the world established dozens of clubs, societies and events, and the wonderful USA magazine “Ornament” which was founded in 1974.
But in 2021 that dwindling early pioneer generation of Bead Study Trust members decided to wind it up. The question appeared - to find the best destination for the Trust’s fund to be well managed.
By far the most congenial choice in London was the Society of Jewellery Historians who hold similar values and already promote all types of jewellery research over a wide perspective as well as having a strong membership, running lectures and producing publications of a consistently high standard.
So as a Bead Study Trust trustee i am proud to tell you all here about this – and recommend everyone with an interest in collecting, using, making or researching beads of whatever age, material, and value to find more about your chosen speciality- the Society of Jewellery Historians will continue to include all jewellery categories in its programme of publications, activities for members, consider research grant applications, and soon make available online copies of all the Bead Study Trust newsletters from 1980 onwards.
Stefany Tomalin 2022.