Clear Ambassador Bead Strand


Amazing strand of clear ambassador beads from the early/mid 19th century.  These beads were made in Venice, likely on the Island of Marano, and then traded to Africa.  These beads have become crazy-rare in the past decade or so, with many fakes and copies springing up.  These, however, are 100% real and come out of the estate of a well-known bead collector.  The strand measures 28 inches long (but note that we recently restrung them on a waxed linen cord and knotted them -- so the length is a little misleading, not including a couple extra inches of cord at the top.  But our rough stringing job is really just a temporary accommodation.  These lovelies deserve better!)  

There are 26 beads on the strand (not including the random round skunk bead).  Individual beads measure between 12 mm and a little over 15 mm in diameter.  The beads vary in length between 19 mm and 28 mm.  This style of bead is traditionally a delicate bead, and these beads are no exception.  While I've cataloged the conditions below, I don't want to leave anyone with the wrong impression -- this is a beautiful strand of beads, and they are in remarkably good shape overall!  

Of course, bead evaluation is a somewhat subjective endeavor -- and the pictures are probably the best guide.  That being said, my breakdown of condition is as follows:

3 or 4 of the beads are in excellent condition, with no major chips, relatively little internal crackling, and intact decorations;

Another 10 or so have all of their original decorations, but have some internal crackling and/or chipped ends; 

1 is in beautiful condition, but has sloppy (original) decorations;

4 beads are large fragments or have moderately large chips;

1 was badly wound when made (but otherwise in good shape);

1 or 2 beads shows extensive internal crackling (a potential prelude to breaking)

1 bead was cracked that we glued back together.  It looks fine, but the repair is definitely noticeable. 

The other five or six beads are in good, but not excellent, condition.

Please let us know if you have any questions -- we are happy to work with you to make sure all your questions are answered! 

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