Thousands of people visit this site and arrive at a specific post via a search engine without seeing the main page. Please click on the PrivateCollection logo at the top to go there. The site is maintained as a Tribute to Susan as a small part of her legacy. Nothing on the site is for sale. Questions are sometimes answered, time permitting. PrivateCollection is the Photo Blog for Susan Dods, a long time antique dealer and collector. The site features photographs and commentary on very special pieces of Chinese Jewelry. View ALL of the posts in the archive with our exclusive PictureBook format.     相片书

Chinese Leaded Glass Bead Necklace

Several years ago I acquired this silver and blue glass necklace from a woman who told me that her mother had bought it from Gump’s… a famous San Francisco store known for selling orientalia including jade.

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[ click on images to enlarge …. photos by: RP (Bob) Birt ]

The metal beads test silver… the clasp is marked silver with Chinese hallmarks… but what fascinated me about the beads was their clarity and sparkle … totally different from the beads that are usually called ‘Peking Glass’.

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So I started to search for more of this bright blue glass… found a pair of earrings marked CHINA SILVER …found a second necklace and and a large pile of beads. I wanted to know what made these beads so bright and clear. The answer came from Peter Francis Jr., the late and great, bead expert. His  book; Asia’s Maritime Bead Trade, 300B.C. to the Present is available on Amazon.

“lead is an important clue when considering Chinese beads. It was rarely used in glass made in the West. Lead does several things to glass, including making it more brilliant and easier to cut, just like Swarovski crystal.”

While Francis’ book is a ‘must read’ for anyone who is interested in Chinese beads or beads in general… it is full of other information… as a ‘Westerner’… it was once again interesting to learn that the Chinese had been making glass for thousands of years using techniques that we usually associate with being ‘European or Western’…

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In our ‘internet age’ we think of the world as shrinking and time is measured in milliseconds… but it seems that beads have always been part of their own ‘small world’ …

Visit PrivateCollection’s  PictureBook to see additional photos… many in larger formats.

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