Trade Beads and a Prehistoric Artifact

Artifact of Prehistoric Walrus Harpoon Head "Shaft Socket" with Blue and Green Trade Beads

Artifact of Prehistoric Walrus Harpoon Head “Shaft Socket” with Trade Beads

Here at Walker Goldsmiths I love to create Trade Bead Jewelry especially with Prehistoric Artifacts, because Trade Beads are themselves artifacts from bygone eras. That’s not to say that they aren’t collected and sold and traded today, but they are more a beautiful historic curiosity than a currency of sorts. Each bead has an interesting history not to mention exquisite beauty. I have an extensive collection that I create with and I’m always trading, buying and selling them to others who appreciate them.

These artifacts that I sometimes include in my Trade Bead Necklaces are possibly as old as 5,000 yrs. They have been buried for years where they were either broken and lost or discarded, made by prehistoric residents of the Alaskan Arctic from Walrus Tusks that they hunted, then used every bit of the animal for their daily life. They’ve now been searched for and found by children who comb the beaches and creek banks of the Alaskan Arctic looking for these artifacts eroding out of the soil and gravel. They then sell them to a trader and we buy them and create beautiful jewelry. I totally believe this is a good chain of events for these precious beautiful pieces of workmanship, not unlike the trade beads I collect that have been made and are each one of a kind bits of beauty and history. Owen tells me that this is a great “kid business, “because they don’t have lawns to mow in the Arctic!”

This featured Trade Bead Necklace, TB507, with a Prehistoric Walrus Harpoon Head “Shaft Socket” Artifact, includes Blue Russians, circa 1800’s or earlier, and Cobalt Czech glass beads. The Turquoise heishi is newer but was also, and still is, used as a trade item all over Eastern Europe and the American SW. Green Melon Chevrons are a marvelous work of art from the early glassmaking era in Murano, Venice or the Gablanz, Bohemia glass industry in the 16th century. The small bright blue spacers are Venetian made, but called French Blue White hearts because of the blue uniforms the French Army used to wear, and have a white center with an blue glass overlay.

Beautiful Blues and Green Trade Beads

Beautiful Blues and Green Trade Beads

Walker Goldsmiths feels honored to even be able to see and touch these Prehistoric Artifacts and Trade Beads and to make them available to anyone who wants them also. There are sweet bits of history in this necklace that we’re offering for $ 250.

About Janet Walker

4 Responses to “Trade Beads and a Prehistoric Artifact”

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  1. Howard Paull says:

    I read your site with interest and see you collect Russian Blue trade beads.

    The Dark Cobalt Blue variety. I was wondering if you possess any XL single Cobalt Blue Russian Blue beads and are willing to sell some ?

  2. Dale (makah native) says:

    I have some dark blue trade beads from my dad. He found them on front st. Beach while digging for clams. I have lived here in neah bay WA. My whole life and Russian blue trade beads have always been common around the makah tribe. I was told that 100’s of years ago there was a trading post on the beach where we dig for clams. Are they the same as in your video?

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