Post Message Search Overview RegisterLoginAdmin
Did Chinese chevrons kill the trade bead collectibles?
Post Reply Edit View All Forum
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
04/02/2015, 09:42:43

Noticed that Matt has a string of 7-layers on offer at a price that, a few years ago, would have caused collectors to leap like trout.

Doing a flyover of eBay sales, the scene looks pretty bleak.

So it's not cool anymore to sport chevrons?

Or are merely 450-year-old beads now passe, with everyone chasing old stone and ancient glass?



© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
Re: Did Chinese chevrons kill the trade bead collectibles?
Re: Did Chinese chevrons kill the trade bead collectibles? -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Adjichristine Post Reply
04/02/2015, 09:56:05

I think the only Venetian Chevrons that generate interest are the very rare, uncommon colored ones! The new Chinese Chevrons and the Chevrons cut from old cane have effectively brought the price down on Chevrons! But, that is just my personal observation! Thank you for raising this interesting question!



© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
Re: Did Chinese chevrons kill the trade bead collectibles?
Re: Did Chinese chevrons kill the trade bead collectibles? -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: beadstore.com Post Reply
04/02/2015, 11:27:27

So I've been wondering about the drop in Chevron prices for a while now. I'm a sort-of economist in the non-bead world, so I can't help but suspect that it's just a matter of supply and demand.

On the demand side, these are clearly sought after beads. But I wonder if the universe of people interested in acquiring chevrons overlaps with the universe of people who already have at least a base-set of chevrons. Thus, the size of the addressable market of people who want to add to their chevron collection is actually relatively small (I'd probably put myself in this camp).

At the same time, it seems like the supply of nice chevrons seems relatively high. My (admittedly anecdotal) sense is that there are just a lot of chevrons on the market right now. Two decades ago, we just didn't see them all that often. But now, I see more chevrons than I do any other "rare" African trade beads. I mean, walking around in Tucson, you'd think seven layers are being grown on trees! I can't tell if it's existing collectors simply trying to monetize their collections, or if there are actually an increasing number of chevrons coming out of Africa.

Of course, these things are ultimately somewhat cyclical, and I fully expect that as prices fall, the supply will also fall, and we'll all be kicking ourselves for not picking up those beautiful beads at a bargain-basement price!



© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
I don't think it's that.....
Re: Did Chinese chevrons kill the trade bead collectibles? -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: rubyzane Post Reply
04/02/2015, 11:38:57

but even at a great price, it's still a chunk of change for people to spend. Perhaps collectors are spending their large amounts on something they find the most special to them. I definitely don't see this as anyone feeling these beautiful chevrons are passe or collectors are following trends of chasing stone & glass beads only. I can only speak for myself, but I definitely find myself lusting after chevrons 1 year, & then carnelian the next year, & although I still love everything I collect, my moods & desires change like the weather. I'm sure a number of people would love to buy an incredible strand of chevrons like this, but may just not be able to. Just my thoughts..... I know that I would love to add these to my collection, but I have too many other things that I've recently found!!! oh well..... Lynne



© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
Re: Did Chinese chevrons kill the trade bead collectibles?
Re: Did Chinese chevrons kill the trade bead collectibles? -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: lopacki Post Reply
04/02/2015, 12:30:26

Suzi and I have had a pretty nice collection of old glass beads at the Tucson show for the past three years and I must say that sales for us has been dismal, most buyers donít even look. The first year we did the show Matt told me that the only ones that can make any money selling old glass beads were the African dealers. I think he is right, I know that when Suzi and I were still collecting old glass beads the first people we would go see were the African bead dealers at the old Rodeway show and those at African Village .

I have a very nice strand of large old chevron beads that is and has been for sale and because I bought it right nearly thirty years ago even if I sold it for half price I would make a tidy profit. Profit is not my goal in my collecting itís the beads, this said it makes no difference to me whether or not the strand sells.

I have to agree that most likely the main reason that the higher end strands are coming down in price is because they are not selling. I donít think people arenít interested, the bottom line is that the economy is in the toilet so there are little to no funds for things other than necessities.

Just my humble opinion .......... All my best .... Danny



© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
my take
Re: Did Chinese chevrons kill the trade bead collectibles? -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: TASART Post Reply
04/02/2015, 13:11:46

For what it's worth, I have been selling in Tucson for 3 years now, buying for over 30! I collect pretty much all types and chevrons have been a part of my collecting since day 3......3 years ago I had several nice strands of 6 and 7 layer beads that I was trying to sell and had zero interest, I even offered some of them in trade for WAY TOO reasonable to our Trader friends and had zero takers....I have 3 or 4 steady customers that buy glass trade beads, no chevrons.....I personally think that collectors as a group are getting older, most have what they want and some are starting to sell off.....there is not a lot of new blood in bead collecting, I hope that is cyclical but I'm not so sure, I think the younger generation has gotten away from beads as well as books and other forms of material possessions in favor of technology! The Chinese buyers are dominating the current markets in the bead world, Coral is still hot but Amber has crashed, good stone is salable but glass is not understood by them......most people chasing the dollar selling beads are at the mercy of this trend....tons more to come on this subject...and yes, Danny, the economy sucks as well

1_DSC00987.jpg (139.0 KB)  


© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
From a fairly new collector's perspective
Re: Did Chinese chevrons kill the trade bead collectibles? -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
04/02/2015, 14:18:32

I have been collecting trade beads and other old beads for less than 6 years (my "anniversary" will be this summer). If I had $5 for every "senior" bead collector who has told me how they did all their collecting when trade beads were $5 a strand, well, I could justify buying a whole strand of 7Ls now! Maybe even the green ones!

So my main observation is that it's all about the money. Most trade bead collectors I have met in the last 6 years got used to very reasonable to downright cheap pricing for decades, right up to the big run up starting a little before the time I entered the bead collecting hobby. Now many of them have dollar signs flashing every time they look at their beads, wondering how they can "cash out" for 10 times, 20 times, or more, than what they paid. They are not likely to turn right around and pay a large premium (in their way of looking at it) for additional beads.

For myself, I understand that the glory days of inexpensive African trade beads are long over, and that I have to spend some serious dough right now to get some good to excellent quality rare old beads. And, I agree with the people who are finding that the number of collectors willing to make large purchases right now is quite small. I am lucky that a small group of these people live nearby and generally their purchases result in half or more of any sales I achieve at local shows. Probably other sellers in large urban areas have the same experience. EBay allows me to reach buyers worldwide, but I find that sales are tough to make, and I have to offer pretty low pricing to attract attention to the more common beads.

There is a glut of trade beads on the market, and the only ones that get any reasonably competitive bidding are the very rare specimens - and blue 7L's are not very rare or at least they have not been since I started collecting. They crop up all over the bead shows - for example in one show a few years ago where nice ones were being offered for $15 each from a dish at one booth. I got the distinct impression that the seller had gotten them for maybe a buck a piece about 40 years ago and was happy with his $15 (yes I bought some of them!).

So to sum up - today a collector needs to have the financial reserves to be able to do any significant collecting of trade beads and other expensive old beads. With the general financial decline of the middle class I expect that new, younger collectors entering the market will be pretty scarce and will likely be from a wealthier demographic that what the long-time collectors are used to seeing. If you manage to attract any new people into this area, be very, very grateful!

Final comment - one bead seller said recently that we all have to hope that the Chinese become as interested in old European glass beads as they have been in amber and coral, then we might see another run up in prices. Personally, I'm not buying beads with the idea that I'm investing for the future. One person in particular whom I know bought trade beads at more or less the peak, thinking that their $2000 strands will go to $20,000 in the near future - well let's just say that I really, really hope this happens, but I'm not holding my breath.



Modified by Rosanna at Thu, Apr 02, 2015, 14:32:43

© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
I have never heard a bead seller say: "Beads are a good investment."
Re: From a fairly new collector's perspective -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Frederick II Post Reply
04/02/2015, 20:12:42

I find myself dealing with those who collect beads only because they love them. And I tend to gravitate toward those who share the same artistic interests -occasionally, they buy from me; for this I am grateful.

Buying strictly for resale -in my short forty years of experience as a bead dealer- would not be very profitable on any level. When I buy beads because I love them, beads add beauty and enjoyment to my life and to the lifetimes of others in turnÖwhether we are able to resell them or not.

Those of us who are identifying important beads are preserving them for posterity when we place them into the hands of those who will give them the respect they properly deserve; I feel that this alone is a worthwhile lifetime ambition.

Getting back to the Chevron Issue, for example: So much of collecting is about connoisseurship; this is often about patina. Old chevrons are for those of us who can identify the difference. When the price drops they become affordable again -it is the cycle of life. Thus, the new and advanced collector alike can afford to become inspired again.

Just Fred -temporary custodian of a handful of collectible beads.



Modified by Frederick II at Fri, Apr 03, 2015, 23:01:56

© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
Well said, Fred! I am doubly inspired to enjoy what I have, while I have it!
Re: I have never heard a bead seller say: "Beads are a good investment." -- Frederick II Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
04/02/2015, 21:25:16

And that includes everything in life, not just the beads!



Modified by Rosanna at Thu, Apr 02, 2015, 21:26:02

© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
Agree with everyone...
Re: Did Chinese chevrons kill the trade bead collectibles? -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Joyce Post Reply
04/02/2015, 23:43:48

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, everybody.

Trade beads have enjoyed a decades-long run. Lisa Wataghani and the Picards were selling them in the States for some years before our Gambian friends began to bring them here. I think the pickings are getting thinner in Africa, plus the Asians are going there now and competing with the Gambians for the good stuff. Plus, Abdul Touray told me a year ago that he had begun bringing glass beads to China...I believe some interest may be taking hold there. But this is so, so late in the game...

We knew in 2007 that the Chinese "trade bead style" chevron was going to have a negative effect on collectibility of the antique Venetian ones. They confuse amateurs and cause them to distrust the "real deal". I talked to more than one dealer at the old Rodeway that year whose intent was to unload their chevrons asap.....

However, bottom line is... chevrons remain very important - they define "trade beads" for many, and are the most "prestigious" of trade beads, probably stemming from the fact that we are taught that it was the village chiefs in African countries who were the main people who could afford to own them in quantity.

Chevrons will never go "out". There are so many ways to focus on chevrons, just look at the Picard on-line exhibits. I remain excited about them, and the fact that our modern master, Mr. Seymour himself, has produced the best of them in our own lifetimes is awesome. What a fantastic time to love beads!

Others have touched upon important points...the disappearance of the middle class will indeed change the "demographic" of future collectors, as Rosanna points out. And Thomas has mentioned what JP and i have discussed many times.....and Tiger too.....we aren't as a "collector culture" very successful in bringing in "new blood" because young people are more likely to spend their disposable income on digital devices instead of beads.

And Fred and Danny, I love the way you expressed your thoughts, too.

I'm grateful that I've been able to learn about and enjoy beads for these years. My little pile has given me much joy, they complete my day and allow me a bit of individuality when I wear unusual or rare beads. I appreciate the people who made them, and those who cared for them before they came to me.... Selling them for a time allowed me to stay home with our son when he was a toddler. I'm thankful for those brief years.

Overall, the bead cycle is winding down a bit after years of a popularity explosion...openings of bead stores and bead shows spread like wildfire...multiple beading magazines have come and gone....some stores are closing....internet sales have hurt the bead stores...I guess it's all part of the big picture.



© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
Re: Did Chinese chevrons kill the trade bead collectibles?
Re: Did Chinese chevrons kill the trade bead collectibles? -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: kitrescue Post Reply
04/08/2015, 18:33:42

This is a very interesting topic to me. I have collected fancy 20th century Venetian beads for many years and only started with the trade beads about 3 years ago. Because I gravitate to complexity in a bead, I tend to prefer millefioris to other types of trade beads. Still, I decided to buy a strand of six layer chevrons to have as a type piece. Even with the Picards' book on chevrons, I did not feel able to distinguish between reproductions (especially if artificially aged) and genuine old chevrons. I bought two strands of big six layers from reputable sellers on ebay (sellers that I have also seen on this site) and that's it. The fakes are definitely an issue and have stopped me in my tracks as far as buying any more or stretching for seven layers. Also, I can't really wear the large chevrons on a day to day basis, unlike the trade beads and fancy Venetians, so I like the big chevrons as objects rather than wearable pieces.



© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
I figured as long as I was going to be buried with my chevrons...
Re: Did Chinese chevrons kill the trade bead collectibles? -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
04/09/2015, 12:08:26

I pulled various things from past auctions and decided to re-string them.

One was a shorter necklace that was made longer. My mannequin sports a black beaded glove because her plaster hand is just too spectral-looking in the dim rainforest daylight up here.

The other combined two nice moon beads with a big chevron. At first I just strung them with some old beads, figuring if anyone bought the set they could have fun adding more beads in their own design. But the combo looked awkward to me, so I figured I'd have some design fun myself, and made it into a longer piece.

So that's what I did this morning.

ChevronsSet_014.jpg (145.8 KB)  ChevronsSet_006.jpg (55.0 KB)  


© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
Moon beads and friends
Re: I figured as long as I was going to be buried with my chevrons... -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
04/09/2015, 12:11:19

ChevronsSet_007.jpg (119.3 KB)  ChevronsSet_015.jpg (147.7 KB)  


© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
One last attempt to tame the moon beads
Re: Moon beads and friends -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
04/09/2015, 18:09:01

I wanted the strand to be long enough to simply be put over the head, and longer tails on the knot ends.

Like the Matthew Walker knot?

Chevrons_018.jpg (140.7 KB)  


© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
?
Re: One last attempt to tame the moon beads -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Joyce Post Reply
04/09/2015, 20:37:21



© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
Two-strand version of the M.W. knot
Re: ? -- Joyce Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
04/09/2015, 21:10:31

A tricky little knot that works great when suspending a bead as a pendant, because it doesn't skew the cords as a doubled overhand knot does. Looks like a little "X".

Lydia Chen shows a different method in her book on Chinese knotting, which is where I first found it - she calls it the Double Connection Knot, if I remember correctly.

I've never tried the method shown in the link (frankly, it gives me a brain cramp) as Lydia's method works just fine when it comes to tightening the knot exactly where you want it.


Related link: http://www.atwoodknives.com/home/16390018.php
Modified by beadiste at Thu, Apr 09, 2015, 21:11:11

© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
A better video
Re: Two-strand version of the M.W. knot -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
04/09/2015, 21:16:10

This is more like Lydia's method.


Related link: http://www.nudos.org/en/useful-knots/matthew-walker-knot-with-two-strands

© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users
Wood beads
Re: I figured as long as I was going to be buried with my chevrons... -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
04/10/2015, 10:12:52

A fellow Forum member inquired about the wood beads used in the chevron necklaces.

The 19x9mm fat disks and small spindle-shaped beads are olive wood, made at least 40 years ago (I bought them second-hand in the early 1990s from a retiring designer), probably by the same Bethlehem factory that is still making olive wood beads today. Alas, the factory now seems to be focused only on small rosary-type beads, at least according to what shows on a Google search for olive wood beads. I only have a handful of the large disks left.

I like the spindle shapes because they seem to fit well into the big holes that a lot of old trade beads feature. I used them with the old wound blue glass beads on the moon beads necklace. As well as keeping the beads straight on the stringing line, they also function as pivot points to increase flexibility and relieve pressure on the edges of glass beads.

The grain in olive wood can be enhanced with an application of linseed oil, but the stuff is stinky and sticky and takes a couple of weeks of air-drying, it seems, to evaporate into a nice surface.

The little disks are coconut shell from the Phillippines.

Wood beads seem to work well with heavy trade beads, I think, to make the finished pieces more comfortable to wear as well as protecting the ends of beads from abrasion or pressure flaking.

For the past couple of decades the mother lode for wood beads seems to be the Philippines - a Google images search on "Philippines wood beads" trawls up some very attractive examples.

Wood_beads_001.jpg (140.9 KB)  


© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved by Bead Collector Network and its users


Forum     Back