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Anyone Know Anything About Trade Beads?


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There were a couple of bigger size Handmades at the bottom of a box that have holes drilled on both ends. Thing is the holes do not go all the way through the marble. Each only seems to go in about 1/4 of the way through. Were Trade Beads drilled right the way through so they could be strung? Or could there have been some sort of do-hickey that would have attached inside of the holes that are there? Pics coming.

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Those are cool, Dave. It seems you've found some interesting stuff. All the trade beads I am familiar with are drilled all the way through. These seem pretty large for beads too but . . .?

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I have a small assortment of African trade beads (Hansel has a large collection) that resemble German cane cut swirl marbles. One is more than 1.5" in diameter. All of my beads were either formed on a mandril or show an indentation where the hole was formed by pushing through when the glass was still soft. Your marbles look like they were drilled later. Looks to me like they were for some other purpose.

Big Indian

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I believe there are at least 3 or 4 different types of holes in the Marble beads. The neatest being when a bubble is actually blown into the center of the large glob before it is stretched. The bubble stretches with the glass then forms a center hole when each marble is made. These were apparently drilled for use in some particular object. I like the caster idea.

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Cool, nice to see. Don't think both ends would have a shallow indentation for a walking stick.

Casters might make sense for a light object, a heavy load would cause it to fail/fracture...Drilling after the glass being molten could cause chipping, which I think I see in the pics...centering a drill bit on a rough pontil wouldn't be easy.

I'll go with an old school razor straightener or something.

C'mon dude, if these were at the "bottom of the box" what did the rest look like?

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I have some trade beads, tiny like seed beads, but the holes go all the way through and they are strung on string, rather than what a necklace would be strung on (monofiliment, silk thread, etc). Didn't really pertain much to these big beads, did it?!! :)

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Casters does make more sense if trade beads are drilled right through. Another suggestion from one of my Dads dealer friends over here was part of a clock or desk set. One of the holes to attach it to the base and the other hole supported a fancy cap top. All still unfounded though and just a guess from him.

I have only been here at this house where all the marbles are for just under 2 weeks. We have been jammed in a little flat in London we rented to be closer to the hospital. Driving 2 1/2 hours to London every other day seemed impractical when gas is 1.38 pounds per liter. So neat things are still coming out. I am about 3/4 of the way into the machinemades now. If anyone needs 30 lbs of Catseyes and common modern stuff let me know haha. The amount of German Sparklers so far is pretty impressive. The small amount of Transitionals so far is a little surprising. Good thing I taught my Mum long ago what handmades looked like so she was real good a seeting those aside and needed very little sorting. More neat stuff to come

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