Glass beads were first created 3,500 years ago by the Egyptians, from whom the Romans learnt the technique when they conquered Egypt in the first century BC. The core-formed or ‘sand-core’ objects preceded mould-blown ones, with this technique transforming glassware into an industry of mass-production in the first century AD. Core-formed glass objects were created from a core of sand, mud, or clay which was moulded around the end of a metal rod. As our own exquisite examples demonstrate, molten glass was then trailed onto the core to form the body, with decorative threads of contrasting colours dragged into various patterns, such as feather or zig-zag.
A Selection of Roman Glass Beads
A selection of ancient Roman bichrome beads, made from core-formed glass. These ellipsoid and globular beads are slightly flattened at the top and bottom, and made from opaque black glass. They feature white (or blue, in the case of one bead) threads marvered and dragged to create a feather pattern around the body. The beads are pierced longitudinally for suspension, and ready for modern wear.
Lengths range from 0.9 – 2 cm
Condition: Very good condition, though the holes of some beads have been blocked by earthly encrustations.