Chinese Chevrons

The Venetian Style Chinese Chevron: 2007

by Joyce Holloway


2007 Bead Collector

Since chevrons were invented during the 15th century in Venice, they have been desirable, collectible and symbolic beads. Except for a production period in Holland from the 17th to the mid-eighteenth century, when mostly a speo finished beads of star cane were produced, their creation was exclusive to Murano (in the Venice Lagoon) until the late 20th century, when other artists, artisans, and then manufacturers got involved in the evolution of the chevron bead.

American artist Art Seymour has created wonderful chevrons for nearly 25 years. Other notable American chevron bead artists are Mary Mullaney and Ralph Mossman of Heron Glass, and Kevin O'Grady.

Examples from India reached the U.S. market between the late 1980s and the approximate time that Picard's volume 7: " Chevron and Nueva Cadiz Beads" went to print in 1993. They documented 4 India made examples in this volume. Although India acquired optic molds for making drawn chevron cane, all examples to date have been made using a composite hot-strip method, thought to be more labor intensive than the molded technique.

Chevrons from China appeared here in the United States in approximately 2004. The first ones we encountered were small, either round or eliptical, and usually with a round-lobed, floral molded layer rather than the more traditional pointed star-chevron shape. For a short time hand faceted versions were available, but it is thought that these were too labor intensive to continue producing. Small chevrons are still available at bead shows and on the internet - mass quantities were produced, and they are very inexpensive. Here is a selection of small chevrons from the Tucson shows, 2004:


2007 Jamey Allen

In 2005 - 2006, very large round chevron beads from China appeared on some strands from the African trade. Some traders were very clear about the fact that they are from China, others less so. These round chevrons were approximately 36mm in diameter. We found that the arrival of the large round beads was credited to one specific African importer who made visits to China to import furniture goods as well as other items. Here is an example of a grouping of Chinese chevrons, inlcuding rounds.


2007 Picard Museum

It is always interesting to try tracing how a trend starts. We believe that the saga of the Chinese replica Venetian style chevron bead began with the African importer mentioned above who special ordered such beads from a manufacturer in China.

Here are images of chevrons in a manufacturer show room in China, in varying stages of completion, September 2006, when this manufacturer was still drilling the beads rather than blowing the glass gather the traditional way to create cane with a perforation.


2007 Russ Nobbs, Rings and Things


2007 Russ Nobbs, Rings and Things

This photo of a Chinese chevron sample card is from the same show room visit.


2007 Russ Nobbs, Rings and Things





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