A correction to your missive.
I have been the only bead researcher to challenge the supposed origins of these beads, now spanning well over two decades.
It has been my contention that, because these are lampwork beads, they must be much-more-recent than any of the propositions that they are "Phoenician," "Roman," or "ancient."
I have remarked that these beads are either Venetian or Bohemian.
I suggested Bohemia for the specific reason that Bohemia devised the translucent red glass that is used for the red/white beads (that often appear to be "pink"). As a side-issue, for thirty (30) years I have promoted the idea that translucent red glass, as made in Bohemia, was taken up by Venetian glassmakers as early as ca. 1825—and was used for the creation of cornaline d'Aleppo beads. I contend that this is essentially the same glass made in Bohemia (used to make false garnets), and routinely used by Venetians AFTER ca. 1825, for many different beads. These dates are, of course, provisional, and are based on North American archaeology, as published at the time my propositions were made. And I remarked, from the beginning that archaeology MIGHT suggest a somewhat different time range, based upon future findings. (But, to my knowledge, nothing has surfaced in this arena.)
My proposition is that the agate-glass beads we are discussing would be more-likely to be Bohemian, if they predate ca. 1825. After 1825, these beads could be Bohemian or Venetian.
At no time did I express the idea that these agate-glass beads cannot be Venetian!
As far as I am concerned, the question(s) of origin remain open. However, the glass itself is the most-telling factor we can deal with now.
My primary intent has been to demonstrate and expose precisely why I believe these beads are trade beads—and not "ancient beads." Please do not misunderstand this. I consider the time and origin to be placed much later than had been previously presumed. And I have discussed two possible scenarios for their manufacture.
Hi Jamey, thank you for your interesting observations. As I wrote, I agree with you in saying that these are trade beads not older than XIX century. However, I don’t see a link between Bohemian glass imitating garnets and these beads. Bohemian garnets are dark or fiery red in colour, while these beads have brownish to pink/beige glass. As far as “cornaline d’Aleppo” is concerned, in an article in Glass of Journal Studies of 2013, Paolo Zecchin wrote that “corniola” beads were already made in Venice before 1815. “Corniola” is the Italian for carnelian; “cornaline” is French, used in XIX century sample cards as French was the international language. In XVIII century Aleppo was an important destination for Venetian beads, the city being a gateway for some Asian markets, notably for caravans to Bassora, where many “corniola” glass beads were sent; in 1781 “corniola” represented half of all the beads sent to Aleppo. This could possibly explain why Aleppo was associated to corniola beads in Venetian sample cards of XIX century. According to Venetian sources quoted by Zecchin in the same article, the outer red layer of corniola was at those time ruby red glass, a colour obtained
To illustrate Giorgio's point about the colors - here is a cross with a garnet that I purchased in Czechia recently, along side some Venetian beads with the gold "ruby" glass overlay.
Molded, faceted Czech beads (tapered holes) are to the left and Venetian beads to the right.
If this glass is the same as that used for the overlay beads then without the underlayer it does look a lot like Czech garnet red.
I have always been interested in these beads either made with a core or just plain.
We display quite a few examples of them in both states in our Museum.
The ones with a white or yellow core definitely look more like carnelian but the other are sparsely found.
In the picture the two inner stands are just plain glass and the other have a white or yellow core.
The thickness of the red layer do change the aspect of the bead.