Invented by Marietta Barovier in 1480 as Rosetta beads and produced in Venice, Italy, from that time to the present day. Considered by many in Africa to be the most highly prized of all beads ... they were worn by chiefs, marabouts and wealthy village elders, many of whom were buried wearing their finery. In time, natural earth movements bring these beautiful beads to the surface, giving rise to the widely held African legend that they grow from the soil.
Produced by fusing various numbers of layers of different coloured glass ... which were then shaped and ground into many patterns and polished by hand or by tumbling to various degrees
of opaque, satin or high gloss finishes. They are one of the great favourites of bead collectors world-wide, with early examples becoming scarce and more valuable as time goes by.
Although copied by many countries world-wide, descendants of at least two of the earliest bead-making families in Murano, Venice are still using some of the original production methods.