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The Origins of Padre Trade Beads

Padre trade beads are very popular today, not just because they are antiques, but because they are a good collector’s item, they make great gifts, they have sentimental value to some people, and they are still stylish.

We recommend purchasing your Padre trade beads at here.

Padre beads were originally made in China and taken to America, Africa, and India by traders. This was during the 18th and the 19th century. The name ‘padre’ originates from the fact that Franciscan priests, or padres, gave the beads to Native Americans for their good work and to convert them to Christianity.

The original padre beads were opaque with a sky-blue or a turquoise shade. However, African bead sellers and collectors pasted the name ‘padre beads’ to all opaque turquoise-blue glass beads, even those that were Venetian or Czech. This means padre trade beads come in all shapes, sizes, and styles since they are not made in one place. Padre beads are mentioned by Lewis and Clark and they stated that the beads helped them to trade with the natives.

The term ‘trade’ in padre trade beads applies to padre beads that were used to trade between the 1400s and the early 1900s. The trade was between Europeans and Africans and between Europeans and Native Americans. Most of the trade beads were made in Venice. Venetians started a bead making industry around 1,000 A.D. and they had a monopoly on the trade for over 600 years. Other trade beads were made in Germany, India, France, Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, and Bohemia. However, the very first padre trade beads were made in China. The J.F. Sick and Co was the biggest broker of these beads between late 19th century and early 20th century.

In Africa, padre trade beads were mostly used in West Africa by Europeans. For trade beads, the Europeans got goods such as ivory, services, and slaves. The Africans were very enthusiastic about these beads and they used them as a show of status in the society, to trade amongst themselves, and as ornaments. Before trade beads, Native Americans had used beads made from teeth, copper, and other materials for their ceremonies, for trade, and to decorate their baskets and clothes. They were therefore very receptive to padre trade beads.

You should note that some of the padre trade beads in the market today have been in use for hundreds of years and you should therefore not expect perfection in their overall condition. You should expect some corrosion, chips, and pitting. As a matter of fact, padre trade beads in a good condition should ring the alarm bell that they are not genuine.

Padre trade beads are so rare that their value is increasing by about ten percent each year. They are a good investment, but you should establish their authenticity before buying. Only buy from well established sources since they are less likely to scam you and if possible, have a professional check them out for you before purchase.

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