Collectible Beads Tips

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How do I clean vintage beads

Cleaning Vintage Beads

White vinegar does an excellent job of cleaning vintage beads. Use one part white vinegar to 4 parts water.

What is the purpose of prayer beads?

Prayer Beads

Prayer beads are found in many of the world's major religions, including Hindu, Buddhism, Islam and Catholicism. They help practitioners keep track of the number of prayers they say.

What are etched agate beads from Tibet called?

dZi Beads

Pronounced “zee,” The dZi Beads of Tibet are a wonderful bead for the beginning collector. One of the most treasured beads in the world, these etched agate beads are the stuff of legends. They bring luck and keep evil away. Learn more about these special beads at:

You can find authentic dZi beads at

What is a ´Vintage´ bead?

Vintage Beads - History

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.

How did African Trade Beads get their name?

African Trade Beads

African trade beads got their name, not because they were made in Africa, but because they were used to trade with African people.

Anyone wanting to know more about trade beads should visit the Picard African Trade Bead Museum.

What if I want to wear my collectable beads?

Wearing Collectible Beads

Memory Wire is an inexpensive and quick way to make a unique choker with collectible beads. Cut it to fit around your neck, add your special bead and a few other complimentary beads if you wish. Use needle-nose pliers to make a hook at each end to clasp the two ends together, and you're done!

Want to wear a different bead tomorrow? Gently straighten one of the hooks on the ends, remove the current beads and add new ones.

What are the most well-known African Trade Beads


Probably the most well-known of the African trade beads. These were first manufactured in Venice in the 15th century. Chevrons can have up to 7 layers of glass (6 and 4 layers are most common). You can turn these beads on their side to count the layers.

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