Re: Your Pelangi Bead
Re: pelangi -- napoleone Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
11/15/2023, 13:08:47

Ciao Giorgio,

First, because I collected and studied jatim from 1983 when they first appeared in the US and international marketplaces, followed by contemporary imitations (NOT reproductions) that followed a few year later, I can say with some confidence that your bead is not from the 1980s. This is at least ten years to early, and possibly some twenty+ years too early.

Distinguishing between early (1980s) glass imitations and much later reproductions is significant--and was addressed in my 2007 paper for the Istanbul Bead Conference in Turkey. I had also discussed these issues in my book, Magical Ancient Beads (1998) BEFORE there were any technically parallel reproductions circulating out of Java.

Briefly, Javanese imitations of pelangi jatim were visually very different from the beads that were copied--because they were torchworked, wound, trailed and tooled. Glassworkers at that time did not make drawn beads, nor did they have a handle on mosaic-glass manufacture. Canemaking and mosaic-glass (making multicolored components that are then made into products)cannot be demonstrated in Java before the 1990s. As I understand it, this was instigated by an American glassworker who was producing glassworks inspired by jatim--these being millefiori work, but not beads. This would have been about 1992. At that time I anticipated that beads would follow soon.

Also, in order to make realistic reproductions of jatim, it was necessary, not only to produce mosaic-glass, but also to produce beads that were hot-pinched from drawn canes--since jatim routinely are derived from both of these techniques.

Although I was shown four compelling pelangi beads that were identical—and it was expressed to me that two were authentic and two were reproductions—this was my first occurrence of such a proposition in the mid-1990s. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to study these carefully.

The earliest date I can assign to compelling reproductions of jatim in 2000. Even then, these beads were not suddenly numerous, and were not yet artificially-decomposed to appear to be "ancient." It was not until 2003, at the Tucson Show, that I was able to acquire technically-right reproductions of jatim.

Consequently, I cannot accept the proposal that your bead is older than 2000--and is probably from later (because it is artificially distressed).

It has been my experience, numerous times, that "new beads" are often said to be ten years older than they are. And (of course) sometimes much older than they are.

I cannot address the issue you raise about "drilling," because I cannot see this in your photos, to interpret what you are observing. I am not aware than any pelangi or jatim reproductions require drilling. And this would surprise me--if only because the prospect of drilling a large glass bead would be unusual, and usually prone to failure. Also (as I have remarked here in 2008), Javanese beadmakers have had problems with annealing glass--such that a fair percentage of their beads spontaneously split in two. Such beads probably could not be successfully drilled. Certainly not at that time.


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