• 100 000 YEARS AGO
The first glass: Man discovers the obsidian, natural volcanic glass existing since the beginning of time and he's going to trim the obsidian to make tools.
• 5000 YEARS AGO
The first glass beads began to be made in Mesopotamia *, probably to mimic Turquoise and Lapis Lazuli.
*(Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel)
• 1300 BEFORE J.C.
It is in Egypt that the first great era of glass work seems to see the day. From that time, the glass bead becomes more important than precious stones.
• 500 TO 50 BEFORE J.C.
The Celts, called Gaulish by Julius Caesar, create ornaments of glass and introduce the color. This is the appearance of the glass bracelet.
• FROM 500 TO 1500 AFTER J.C.
During the Middle Ages, religious influence restricted the use of pearls for pious purposes:
• SINCE 1299 AFTER J.C.
During the Ottoman conquest, the major glass producing regions market the beads from the Red Sea to the east coast of Africa, against ivory and slaves.
• 15th century
From the Renaissance, the great explorations from Europe generate a huge exchange market with the New World's populations.
The attractiveness of glass beads on Amerindian populations makes them the first currency of exchange (pearls versus furs).
• FROM 16TH TO 19TH CENTURY
The glass beads also flood Africa with the expansion of slave trade to the new colonies: pearls against slaves, slaves against sugar, tobacco and precious metals.
• 20TH CENTURY
The adoption of mechanical processes will allow the creation of tiny and calibrated beads. During the 1880s, the annual export to the US reached almost three thousand tons. The activity combines homework and industrial organization.
They will be very used by the Parisian fashion of the roaring twenties (1920).