Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Collectible Beads and other Beadwork topics.
Vintage is just a 'fluffy' way of saying the beads are old. Usually, beads that are sold as 'vintage' are ones that are out of production
for some reason. The expensive ones are beads that were made in Europe before WWII. Many of the bead factories in what is now the Czech Republic were shut down or destroyed, and the workers displaced or killed. Many industry secrets about how to create the colors and finishes used were lost. Occasionally, some beads are even older - and caches of beads are found tucked away in old storerooms or someone's basement. Some are quite unusual - and some are just old!
Another tidbit: the colors known as "greasy" (as in "greasy yellow" or "greasy green") came as a result of the beads that were produced after the war. When the bead factories started opening again, the secret of how to properly mix "opal" colors had been lost. The resulting attempts to make these beads resulted in greasy-looking (and rather unappealing) glass colors. Happily, though, they finally rediscovered the method so we have lovely Opal colors again from the Czech Republic.