We tend to think of decorative jewellery as a relatively recent phenomenon. In fact, archaeological evidence suggests that early humans may have created and worn beaded jewellery up to 75,000 years ago, making it one of the world’s oldest expressions of individuality and status.

Beads have been used in many cultures for centuries. The word “bead” comes from the Anglo Saxon words “bidden” (to pray) and “bede” (prayer). Beads have been used as money and worn as jewelry to bring wisdom and fortune to the wearer. Found dating back nearly 40,000 years, beads have been made from pebbles, shells, teeth, claws, clay, glass and more.

Glass became an important material in bead making with its discovery around 3,400 years ago. Glass beads and hand-crafted beaded jewelry have long been associated with the Roman Empire as well as early Mediterranean, Egyptian, and Venetian cultures.

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