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Vintage German Glass Beads - A Collector's Dream

Posted by Jamie on 8/21/2014
Beads are those items that can serve a dual purpose - they are great for crafting for jewelry making, but they are also great collectors' items. And every so often there are beads that have such a story that it would almost be crazy to put them in jewelry -  or at least make the jewelry inexpensive.

There are vintage beads, and then there are vintage German glass beads. These beads are unique not as much where they are made but from the way they were made and by whom. It is quite a story that makes these beads a real treasure for any collection, and would certainly add some special pizzazz to any piece you may create with them.

The story behind vintage German glass beads is pretty unique. There was a lot of persecution of different ethnicities in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, and we're not just talking about the Jewish people. In post-war Czechoslovakia, which was overseen by the Soviet Union government, the Germans who had lived in the country were persecuted and driven out of the country in a Soviet-bloc nationalist campaign - especially in the wake of World War II and the defeat of the Germans by the Societs and the other Allies. 

There were quite a few accomplished German glass makers in Czechoslovakia at that time, but after they were chased out of the country, much of the glass making went by the wayside. Just 20 or 25 years later, the 2,000 or so known German glass makers were down to fewer than five still making beads in the early 1970s. While there are a large number of German glass makers in business today, those beads are much high priced and are generally not using the hand-crafted techniques that the original generation had used. 

So the next time you are in the market for German glass beads and you are looking for a vintage style, be sure that you get beads authenticated, because vintage German glass beads are not common and the more modern makers may want to confuse you. Don't be fooled - the hand-crafted beads are a special item that would deserve a place in your collection.