Antique Trade Bead Necklace
Beads were brought to the America's by European traders in small quantities for centuries. Lewis and Clark brought with them small supplies of beads to trade with the Native Americans on their epic journey across the United States in 1804. The Hudson Bay Company also introduced beads into trading on a small scale. However, it wasn't until 1848, that Stephen A Frost started a little company that would in time become the largest importer and distributor of beads in America and over seas. Spanning over a century, Stephen and his son Dan imported beads from Venice, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Italy and sold them to traders, explorers, and Native Americans. Their success lead to their relocation of their corporate headquarters to New York City in the 1870s and an exhibition at the World's Fair in St. Louis in 1904.
With only a few exceptions, the coyote tooth, bison tooth, copper tubes, bone tubes, nearly every bead on this necklace dates back to the 1800's. It is a sampling of some of the most popular beads and colors that were traded to the Native Americans.
Many of these beads are getting hard to find. Once they are gone, they are gone forever. They are not being reproduced. The six strands are strung in a contemporary design on artificial sinew (waxed linen threads). The longest strand is approximately 24". Own a piece of history that was central to American expansion and entrepreneurism!