Brass Wraps - african killerbeads



The millefiore ('thousand flowers') trade bead is easily the most recognizable and highly collectable trade bead today.  They were first made in Venice by the Murano glass makers and used by explorers to trade with Africans and American Indians in exchange for spices and other valuable resources.

The beads are made by fusing different colors around a glass core creating elaborate patterns.  Many different colors and  patterns could be used on a single bead.

Some African exchange students sold them as a way to pay for their education in the West and were favored amongst Hippees and Flower Children in the  60's and 70's. The authentic versions were plentiful back then, but now have gotten more scarce and difficult to find.

Less expensive millefiores are made of clay instead of glass and are more abundant.  They can be spotted by their near perfect shapes.
Clay Millefiori
Mixed Strand