Collection: Out of China

Glass Was Used as a Substitute for Jade and Precious Stones

In modern times, some of the world’s most prolific state-of-the-art bead making assembly lines are in China.

Using cutting-edge equipment and utilising low-cost labour, the Chinese are able to produce millions upon millions of beads – of all shapes and sizes to meet today’s phenomenal demand for the durable ornaments which have become the essential ingredients used in the production of jewellery the world over.

Today, the Chinese beadmaking industry has become a force to be reckoned with – going up against the superior leading beadmakers of Czechoslovakia, Italy and Japan who have been dominant in refining the mass production of beads for centuries.

However, similar to other countries, the Chinese do have a veritable history in the production of beads of their own.

The earliest types of glass objects found in China are polychrome eye beads or dragonfly-eyed beads. The beads were discovered in burials made in the late Spring and Autumn of the early Warring States periods (early 5th century B.C.) up to late Warring State – early Western Han period.

Glass beads have also been found in the eighth and ninth-century B.C. burial tombs of the Western Zou dynasty.

It is generally believed that the Chinese used glass as a substitute for jade and precious stone – (because it was more accessible and cheaper) for their beadmaking.

And, in the Gobi Desert, archaeologists have discovered 12,000 year-old beads – which were made out of ostrich and dinosaur shell.

  - Sources: The History of Beads (L.S. Dubin) and Wikipedia

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