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While in Big Fork Montana last year we stopped at an Indian Jewelry store. The owner lives in Wyoming and as child she found jars full of Indian trade beads. She has found over 40 thousand. She told us, as I recall, that all the glass beads were made in France. Have any been found in Tx. or are all the beads here of rock, shell, or bone? The glass beads have little value, but it would interesting to know if they were traded here.
She had several strands for sale, and they were relatively inexpensive.
The glass trade beads that are found in Montana are probably mostly European trade beads brought down the Northwest Pacific coast via the Hudson Bay trading company from the mid-1700s through the 1830s or so. I have found many hundreds in California where they were once common. They do have value now and people pay good money for them. There are many varieties from Cornaline De'Aleppo "green hearts" and "white hearts" which are generally from Italy. The cobalt blue faceted beads are from the Slavic areas and are generally referred to as "Russian Trade beads." They are multi-layered trade beads that were a major industry for centuries. They were very common in Africa and some even made it to the east coast as part of the slave trade. By the 1830s they became largely worthless to the indians due to the population decrease. A small number of indians inherited a large number of beads as the indians succumbed to diseases. they were used as funeral offerings and are frequently found melted in piles where cremations occurred. Some of the ones here were found with many other trade era artifacts high in the mountains including a metal button that was identified for me by the manufacturer, Platt Brothers, as a Civil War Union Army tent button. Platt Brothers has been in business continuously since the 1790s in Connecticut. They now make grommets. Anyway, I haven't heard of these beads as coming from France specifically although some "fancy" beads may have. Lewis and Clark travelled with many thousands of them to help as they encountered indians along their travels. The whole beaver pelt trade era is fascinating and has left artifacts all over the continent. I have seen a few from some Texas sites including a few around San Antonio but they are generally rare and only occur in small numbers here.
Thanks Mojave, yeah your right, it was Italy. There were other colors too. She had researched them, and they had different names. I remember one she had was red and white. Obviously she didn't think there was much value as she had found so many. They own a ranch in North Western Wyoming and she hunted them as a child. Didn't invite us to hunt there tho . Didn't say anything about points, she just collected bead. Are they valued by color or scarcity? I figured I would see more post on glass beads if they were a common occurrance. And where were they found, in camps or around towns?
What a collection !, What an interesting story. Or I should say many interesting stories, who would think grandpa white feather would wind up as a lump of glass !
Your sure right beads are rare, at least in a huge area of central Texas, broken long neck bottle rims
Tks for the show
Te, you opened the topic, good story too. If that Lady's collection was 40 K, and thats only one person finding what was lost in that local, immagine the volume on a nation wide basis.
The European glass industry must have been booming !
You think ONE of those BILLIONS of worthless baubles would find it's way into one of my CenTX frames ?
The most common and least valuable beads are the solid white ones. We called them "quartz" beads. I've never bought or sold any beads but I've seen the blue Russians for a few dollars each. Online I've seen long strands for $100. In some places they were common so people found plenty. But many areas they are scarce. Among the beads I found there are a few black steatite beads made by the local indians as well as a few made of slate. I have a couple in the picture made of turquoise that are real rare. I was told by someone that the tiny blue "seed beads" are form China but I'm not sure. There was a robust worldwide trade industry by the late 1700s. I have seen some of the green hearts in museums that were huge. Almost the size of golf balls. I never found any that big. Nearer the coast the most common beads were olivella shells. I only have a couple dozen but a friend of mine found almost 2000 of them in a small cave about 15 years ago. The shelter was only a few hundred yards from a major highway and had never been discovered. He also found an almost-complete bow with them. If I get a chance I'll post pics of more. Perforated pendants are also prized. In Texas I guess they are called gorgets. I found two together that are made of Sonoma Jade. They are pretty cool.
Those are nice beads you have Mojave, wish I'd bought some of the glass beads while we were there at Big Fork. Wife reminded me that at Hungry Horse Montana, there was another store that had fossils, artifacts and beads for sale.
There and at Whitefish I know geo would have gone nuts on rocks and fossils. The fossils were dug from a site on the eastern side of the mountains and included skulls, vertebrae and femurs from larger dino's. Obviously it's legal there too, because there were several locales that had fossils and artifacts for sale. A lot of the bones were still embeded in the matrix. Some artifacts had coa's, but I wasn't familiar with the authenticater.
We were there looking at property and didn't think about buying the beads. And the womans story corresponds with your, as far as Lewis and Clark. That area is just north of the Flathead Indian Reservation. Don't know about the area were she found the beads in Wyoming. I just don't hear of anyone finding them in Texas, but knowing history, I would think they would be found around old forts and missions. I've heard of glass points from the early 1800's being found there. Doubt it's something I'd find surface hunting.
Geo, there in Whitefish, there's a whole section of town with tourist type shops, and two of the ones that specialized in fossils, rocks, and artifacts, had tables set outside on the sidewalk. $2,000 for a (raptor) skull. I'm assuming that's what it was, because of the size and the teeth. It was still encased in rock, so I doubt anything there was fake. I used to collect rocks & fossils, but the boss told me I already had enough junk, so I didn't buy it. She bought a painting by a local artist instead. Sheeesh.