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Red Venetian Glass & Brass Bead Necklace

Andhra Pradesh, India
19th century

length: 80cm, weight: 237g



UK private collection

This fine necklace is of dozens of strands of hundreds of tiny red glass trade beads produced in Murano, Venice before and probably well before 1880. The beads are not of uniform size, which is another indicator of their relatively early nature. Venetian glass beads were produced in their millions and exported right around the world. They turn up in ‘tribal’ necklaces from Borneo, to the Himalayas to the Americas.

Technically, the beads are known as Cornaline D’Aleppo beads. They were manufactured first as tiny white glass beads which were then dipped in molten red glass to give them their colour.

The red glass beads here have been accompanied by four large faceted double brass beads made locally in India and of a form that is characteristic of Andhra Pradesh.

Such necklaces were worn by Gondh women in Andhra Pradesh (Untracht, p. 84).

The example here is threaded onto the original twisted cotton thread. They are robust and wearable and have a superb patina.


Sarah Corbett, pers. comm.

Untracht, O., Traditional Jewelry of India, Thames & Hudson, 1997.

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