Beads have been made of glass for over 5,000 years. The discovery of fire was the essential step in glass bead making. There is evidence as early as 2340-2180 BC in Mesopotamia of a method known as “core-forming” where they used a metal mandrel with pieces of glass held over a flame. Gradually as the glass soften, they would wrap it around the mandrel forming intricate ornaments. These early beads, or vessels were considered valuable and were preserved as they were placed in burial tombs. In Nuzi (130 miles north of Baghdad) beads were discovered that date to around 1400 BC. Even today, we make beads by holding glass rods over a flame then gently winding the molten glass over the mandrels. The invention of the blow pipe in gave way to the creation of the Rosetta bead and the seed beads which sustained the bead making industry in Venice for centuries. Bead making is truly an ancient art form.
Archaeologists excavated the oldest Turquoise Jewelry known in the world at the cemetery of the royal tombs at Abydos? Turquoise bracelets in gold setting were among other items, found there and are now shown in the Cairo Museum. They are from approximately 5500 B.C.The Egyptians adored turquoise. Some of beads made by the Egyptians these date back to 5500 B.C. Barrel beads and roundel beads are among other types of beads made by the Egyptians. These beads were mixed with obsidian, moss agate and glass beads.