The history of beads dates as far back as 40,000 years. They have been made by every society and culture using items such as pebbles, shells, teeth, claws, clay, plant seeds and various stones.
Used for trading and as currency, beads were much more valuable at one time than dolling up our purses and shoes.
Glass became an important material in bead making with its discovery about 3400 years ago.
Today we think of beads mostly on clothing, accessories and jewellery using sequins, glass, precious stones and plastic. So next time you wear something sparkly, remember how 'old' your beads are!
Detail of Susan Small Gown