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Chinese Mandarin Court Necklace Glass Beads

This Mandarin Court Necklace has been sitting in one of my boxes for many years…the four drops do not match the counting or the head beads…but I have searched and searched and I still cannot find the blue glass drops. I decided to show the necklace as I found it…because this necklace begins a story…the story of Chinese glass beads…a story that I have wanted to tell for a very long time…

Click to Enlarge

"Hardly any documents of historical value have been kept on ancient Chinese beads"… G. B. Fenstermaker

Very little has been written on the techniques used by Chinese artisans and bead makers…for hundreds of years most craftsmen could not write and the secrets of their craft have been handed down in an oral tradition from father to son.

There is a lovely small book "The Chinese Bead ", written by G. B. Fenstermaker. I found a copy on eBay abut 10 years ago…it contains a lot of information…and a photo of a complete court necklace with blue glass and carved pits very similar to mine. The book was published in 1979, so it is not easy to find but worth looking for.

The blue carved counting beads on the Fenstermaker necklace are exactly the same as the counting beads on this court necklace of mine. Over the years I have found several strings of the small blue beads carved with the Shou symbol mixed with various other beads… because these beads also appear on two court necklaces, (mine and Fenstermaker’s), I believe these beads were always considered court beads. Click to Enlarge
Click to enlarge   Now, look at the blue glass head beads and Fodouda from the Mandarin Court Necklace and the large green glass head beads on the hand knotted necklace…they are exactly the same beads in different colors…the green bead necklace has been made from parts of a Court Necklace… lovely knotting with all silk cord.

I will continue the story of Mandarin glass beads soon….

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  1. Jamey Allen
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    It’s a very nice Court Necklace. However, Fenstermaker did not write The Chinese Bead. He published it. The author is Alice Williams. Unfortunately, the book is rife with mistakes. I could not recommend it. JDA.

  2. Susan
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I have been in contact with Jamey… a very well know and respected ‘Bead Person’… who knows, perhaps I can talk him into doing some guest posts for us 🙂 Everyone would benefit from his experience and knowledge!

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