Collection: Ancient and Antique Trade Beads- the Eye Bead Range

Cache Antiques is introducing an exciting new chapter in our range of antique jewellery, featuring antique trade beads largely from the Javanese region of Indonesia. These are often described as ancient, and our beads range from the ancient to late medieval. They have then been set into sterling silver by our teams of artisans in Java, using spacer beads and settings which showcase their charm and preserve their integrity.

The history of beads is extensive, dating back to Neolithic times.

This particular series showcases antique Indonesian eye beads produced using the millefiori method, which was created and improved upon during the Hellenistic to Roman period. Eye beads were believed in many ancient cultures to be a powerful symbol of protection that would ward off the evil eye. From the Islamic Period onwards, when trade beads began to enter Central and Southeast Asia in increasing numbers (600AD), these evil eye beads were highly treasured as powerful amulets, and these beautiful and highly prized talismans were used as charms in dowries, and passed down as heirlooms. 

Eye beads of this type have been found which date to 1500 BC, and they were produced approximately up to the fourteenth century; these can be estimated to be produced circa 1000 to 1400 AD. It should be noted that scientific analysis of beads recovered from 10th century shipwrecks indicate that two major glass production centres in the medieval world were West Asia and South Asia.

Several important bead making centres were found in Sumatra and Java, and it is likely that these beads were produced in the latter region. 

The beads are ancient and their condition is remarkable considering nature of material and age; as each bead is unique, please refer to pictures for description as you will receive the item pictured. The beads are in good shape for items of such antiquity and are clean, and intact, but minor fleabites and patina should be considered part of the charm of these items.