Pure Black Glass Beads

Is there such a thing as “pure black glass beads?”

Czechoslovakia has been a source of the glass bead industry for decades. Italy and France are two countries who are also known well for glass beads. World War II was cause of many glass bead factories being destroyed. After the Cold War end in 1991 thousands upon thousands of “glass seed beeds” were re-discovered. I would have loved to been present at that discovery.

Today most of our very best quality seed beeds come from Japan and the Czech Republic. We also can find a few vintage looking beads from France. China and Taiwan create glass seed beads, however, the higher quality of glass seed beads come out of Japan and/or Europe.

Glass bead manufacturers obviously have to guard their color formulas just as a world class chef guard their signature recipes. Each bead manufacturer will strive to have a particular color that is popular with the majority of people in order to sell the highest quanitity of beads. This certainly makes sense to me.

Historically it is said “true black glass beads” do not exist. The exact recipe for black glass beads is said to have been lost during World War II. No one since that time has been able to recreate it.

Hold up a black glass bead to the light and you will see a purple color. I am certain out there somewhere in this world there are absolute authentic vintage black glass beads. Just as there were “lost” glass seed beeds discovered after the Cold War ended, there has got to be somewhere in this world authentic vintage black glass beads, however, the ORIGINAL recipe for re-creating pure black glass beads is what is said to be lost forever at least to my knowledge and in everything I have read thus far.

Of course, I have not read everything there is to know about pure glass black beads, so out there somewhere could be someone holding onto the exact original recipe of how to make pure glass black beads. For the purpose of the discussion in this article, however, I will say the original recipe to create pure black glass beads is lost. I am happy with what I find today nonetheless. Some people though are bent out of shape about something original and if they are a black glass bead lover, they may just be out of luck about finding a geniune original pure glass black bead, or at least the original recipe that is.

One thing I know for sure is black glass beads are always a staple in my glass bead stash. I like using black with so many different other colors. It just seems to make a statement that no other color can hold up to. There is something “strong” and “forceful” about the color black and then when paired with a lighter, soft color, the combination together says to me strong, but still yet quite feminine.

Of course, I am content with what I have that looks a little purple when you hold it up to the light, yet, still goes well with many other bead colors. I like pairing black with pastel pink.

I would think if the exact recipe for making black glass beads was ever discovered it would sell for a very high price if it was ever sold. More than likely if one of these companies got hold of the original recipe and they may have it right at this moment as I write this, they would not let go of it, as it seems this is a very mysterious piece of information in the history of glass beads and could be worth lots and lots of money.

Yes, it is said there are still vintage pure black glass beads floating around in this world, yet the original recipe to re-create pure black beads is most likely lost forever. Most black glass beads we get hold of today will look a little purple when held up to the light.

I also like pairing black beads with shades of purple (see photo below). Here is a pair of dangle earrings I created using one of my favorite patterns pairing black, a larger size black glass bead with a smaller size shade of purple glass bead.


The contrast in shades is what I like about pairing black glass beads with lighter shades of color. I feel a sense of “forcefulnnes or even a greater assertiveness attitude mixed with feminiity whenever I wear black with softer colors. Many different colors work well with black.

The pattern consists of jump rings that looks like a “vine” with beads hanging on the vine. I have several variations of this same pattern, one is a grape cluster that I like using with Mixed Glass Beads.

Materials Used:
6 Black Glass Beads 8 mm
6 Medium Purple Glass Beads 6 mm
14 Silver Plated Jump Rings, 5 mm
14 Silver Plated Head Pins
2 Silver Plated French Fish Hooks

Carmilita Earrings




Author: connielimon2014

Bead Jewelry Artisan, mother of one daughter and grandmother of two grandsons, daughter of Korean War Veteran.

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