A string of beads

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An endless string of beads unwinds symbolically around us, enveloping us in millennia of culture, entrancement and history. Morphing into necklaces, bracelets, earrings, brooches, belts and bags, it perpetuates femininity and wearing it is a significant experience, profound and evocative.

The master glassmakers of Venice and Bohemia – the very notion of their existence is thrilling – make peerless glass and crystal beads that spread all through Europe from the second half of the sixteenth century, when the working of the glittering little spheres was recognised as an art. The jewels were talismans to be handed down from one generation to the next, partly because beads are more beautiful when they are worn and elegantly challenge the ravages of time. Adored since ancient times, they enjoyed their greatest popularity from the reign of Queen Victoria up to 1920, when they were even used in interior decor.