Importance of Beads in Ancient Egypt

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Every item that we see today has its own story and origin buried in the ancient times. Beads were and continue to be popular for its uses. The word Beads comes from the Anglo Saxon word “bede’ which denotes ‘prayer’. The first mathematical tool Abacus for counting in the human civilization was made entirely of beads. Abacus made of beads was the first calculator the world has seen which dates back to as long as 2400 BC.

Beads in Egypt were used as decorative jewelry making. Long before gemstones and pearls were used for making jewels, ancient Glass Beads were considered to be the best and was in huge demand for making attractive ornaments.

Egyptians are known for their love for jewelry and were considered by the ancient Greek philosophers as highly fashion conscious people. They crafted bracelets, necklaces, earrings and other forms of jewelry and decorated their clothes with premium quality beads available. They not only used jewelry made of beads for decoration, but also believed the beads to have a magical power. During the late Bronze Age, the beads were crafted from iron, which was extracted from meteorites. The ancient natives of Egypt believed iron beads to be the lucky charm. They were also known to craft beads from colored glass by employing a special technique, which was not witnessed anywhere on the globe. However, the greatest number of beads primarily came from Faience that was a cheap ceramic paste found in Egypt. The techniques and materials used by them were then gradually passed to the Greeks and Romans and through them to the rest of the world around.

Beads have been cherished, collected and traded profitably all through the early human civilization. Collecting ancient glass beads is a very popular field, which is gaining more and more attention today. Glass making originated in Syro-Palestine area and was developed in Egypt around 1330 BC. Earlier it was used as unit of exchange by the ancient traders, missionaries and explorers, but now people do not barter with beads. Nonetheless, the glass beads tend to fascinate a large population of collectors.

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