The Bead SiteHome>Bead Names>What's a Bead? > Pop Beads

Pop Beads

Everyone calls them beads, but they don't really fit my definition of a bead
Deborah Zinn's. Or do they?

Pop (or Pop-In) beads are made of polyethene and other soft plastics. A knob at one end fits into a corresponding hole on a neighboring bead to link together.

Right: Bead as money. Until the early 1990s the Club Med resorts had guests change money into beads for buying things at the resort. The Club Med logo can just barely be seen at the bottom.

Are they beads? Zinn's definition that anything with a hole is a bead doesn't quite fit here. It has a depression, but it is not a perforation, as most beads have. I suppose you could call it a hole,

My definition of a bead involves stringing the objects. When they are together, they look as though they are strung, but they are really just attached to each other.

Well, yes, of course, I do consider them beads,
though they are rather odd ones. Interestingly, they are one of
the most common beads people ask me about.
They don't seem to be available new in the US. I have looked high and low for them. They are found only as "retro" jewelry.

Maybe there is fear that small children will swallow them.
Those on the right were given my by the Gratuse family in France in early 2002 (note the Statue of Liberty). They are freely available there. Are French kids are smarter?
 I must say, in four days with them I never heard an argument between the three kids (the oldest was 8). No info on where the beads were made.

The only pop beads you can get easily in America these days are those that are so large that kids can't get them into their mouths. The Club Med bead
(< inch; > 1 cm in diameter) is above one.

A have a bunch of these in a bucket on the floor of the Center for Bead Research. Little kids love to play with them while their folks and I talk beads.


 Small Bead Businesses | Beading & Beadwork | Ancient Beads | Trade Beads
Beadmaking & Materials | Bead Uses | Researching Beads | Beads and People
Center for Bead Research | Book Store | Free Store | Bead Bazaar
Shopping Mall | The Bead Auction | Galleries | People | Events
The Bead Site Home | Chat Line | Contact Us | Site Search Engine | FAQ