The Bead SiteHome>Trade Beads>World Bead Trade> Coral

Margaretologist 14(2) Issue 32 2002

The Bead Trade Around the World

Part 1 of 3

Case History One: Coral

Precious red coral from the Mediterranean Sea (Corallium rubrum) has been highly valued for millennia and traded very widely. Its trade constitutes one of the six great global bead trading networks in history.

A lighter colored version of precious coral. The woman who gave this to me is a not a bead person, but worked in a church where I was giving my workshops. She said it was uncomfortable to wear. I wonder why.

Sketch of coral beaded cap, erhu ivie, with deep hanging fringes and a close-up of the netting. The cap was worn in the Kingdom of Benin. Sketch from de Negri 1964: 216.

Pendant from Qing China decorated with a mesh of seed coral beads
(the coral likely came via India) and pieces of blue kingfisher feathers. Donor: Elizabeth Harris.

Index PagePart Two


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