Orginally made by the Romans, the art of making Millefiori (tranlates from Italian as "thousand flowers") glass trade beads was rediscovered by the glass makers of the islanbd of Murano in Italy during the 16th century. The export of venetain Trade beads to Africa, Canada and the Himalayas were an important commodity for trade of evertything from gold to slaves, ivory, furs and exotic animals. As a consequence Venetian trade beads come in a variety of styles of which millefiori are perhaps the most popular and well-known. Antique beads are become ever more expensive and harder to find and hence are copied to this day in Indonesia and China. When buying antique trade beads make sure you do your homework first!

millefiori

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