Ancient Islamic Period Blue Glass Beads Necklace with Ancient Nila Beads and Karen Hill Tribe Fine Silver VBP319


This 25" long necklace is made of Ancient Blue Glass beads. These beads date from the 8-12 century AD, the period is known as Islamic or Byzantine. These kinds of beads are found in North Africa, and these particular beads were excavated in Mali. The ancient cities of Mali were the centers of regional commerce, with goods traversing the desert with endless caravans. Beads were used in trade for centuries, and the sands of the Sahara still yield bountiful supplies of ancient beads left from those times. Excellent illustrations and history of these beads can be found in a book by Augusto Panini, Middle Eastern and Venetian Glass Beads, pages 97-104, 111. ISBN-13: 978-8861301641.

The round large beads of translucent blue glass are 12-16 mm in diameter. The smaller translucent spacer beads are ancient as well, also excavated in Mali. They are frequently referred to as Nila beads. The bead caps and clasp are oxidized sterling silver.

The last three photos of this listing show how these beads look when found. They are then cleaned by a laborious careful process, and you can see the before and after cleaning in the last two photos. It is not totally clear whether the blue beads without evil eyes were like that initially, or whether the evil eyes on these beads have not been preserved with time. In any case, they are beautiful and mysterious.