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Russian Faceted

Russian faceted beads are one of the most highly prized and sought after beads of the fur trade era. They were traded extensively in the Pacific Northwest and are still recognized today as the only bead of value to some of the Native American tribes in the area. The most popular were the clear cobalt blue, but some of the lighter blues with a pale blue liner were also acceptable. Because of the popularity of this style of bead and the scarcity of good quality specimens this bead has almost been copied to death. The originals are usually Venetian but evidence exist that they were also made in Bohemia and Russia. Originals will have seven sides with cuts on the ends creating a crisp diamond effect on the sides. Original beads are always snapped from a cane. This snapping creates a smooth or clean glass break on the end of the bead. Since most copies are molded they tend to have duller edges and the ends are more rounded. Copies of the Russian faceted have been made in Taiwan, Bohemia, Mexico, and are currently being made in the Czech Republic. The Czech beads are all molded but are very fine quality and unfortunately are very hard to tell at first glance from the originals. And to make matters worse, they also come in all the original colors, ie. black, blue, green, amber, red, crystal, and amethyst. The copies from Mexico are very crude and easy to tell apart. They are larger than the size you normally see and the ends have been cut halfway through to facilitate the snapping of the cane, giving the ends a half shiny, half dull look. Most of the Mexican copies will have a second liner of a slightly lighter blue glass to enhance the outer cobalt color. These beads were only made for a few years and although they are copies, they are fairly scarce. The Taiwan beads are all large molded beads with large holes, shiny finish, and well rounded off corners. I have only seen this bead in cobalt blue. The Bohemia beads have good color and size but the faceting is very sloppy and irregular. The facets look like they were put on by hand after the bead was made, so no two beads are exactly the same. Russian faceted are easy to get taken on, so, GET TO KNOW YOUR DEALER!!!!!

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