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Wooden necklace - vintage?

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    Posted 3 years ago

    (273 items)

    An interesting necklace from todays flea market, with hand painted wooden beads and green beads from what I think could be glass. The question is vintage, or not vintage? (come to think of it now, the little white flower spacers dont look like they have seen many years, their condition is very good...).
    I would be thankful for your opinion on this!
    Could be czech wooden jewelry?

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    1. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 3 years ago
      The clasp is definitely vintage. My guess is that the necklace dates to mid-20th century. Will be interested to see what our more knowledgeable participants have to say. :)
    2. lentilka11, 3 years ago
      Thank you cameosleuth for your knowledge! I didnt know about the clasp type, good to know!!
    3. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 3 years ago
      The bits of jewelry jewelers call 'findings', e.g., clasps, jump rings, etc., can be quite useful for dating things. You can tell my primary area of knowledge is cameos. Because most of the caneo subjects were used fairly unchanged for decades, often the only way to have any idea of the age is the type of setting, clasp & hinge.

      A fun piece, if the clasp is still secure, will you wear it? If it opens a bit too easily, gently opening the tongue ever so slightly wider may help. :)
    4. valentino97 valentino97, 3 years ago
      Yes mid-century or 1970's or maybe newer combination of nice beads. I see some African snake vertebra glass beads (the green ones) and the wood flower spacers are familiar - I have some of these. Yes, German or Czech. The only beads I don't recognize are the painted ones! Because they don't appeal to me. My guess is a 70's hippy creation. :-)
    5. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 3 years ago
      I considered the possibility that these are old elements recombined in more recent times, & could be. I was trying to get a better look at the cord they are strung on. Looks very white, clean & unfrayed, but could not be sure. I don't think it was commercially made, but some craftsperson knew what they were doing when they tied off the ends.

      Loved learning about 'snake vertebra' beads. 'White hearts' is as far as my African trade bead knowledge goes.
    6. lentilka11, 3 years ago
      Thank you for all your info, cameosleuth and valentino97! So interesting! As far I know Czechoslovakia used to supply Africa nations with some beads and necklaces during communism (they even made prisoners do the necklaces, I heard the story that "political" prisoners were forced to make necklaces while they knew they will end to be thrown into water in Africa anyway) so possibly the ones you saw, Valentino, were of Czech origin?
      cameosleuth the clasp is OK - its the thread I am not sure about. But the necklace is in good condition and can be worn ... only its not my style.
      BTW this is not the first time I see such beads here, only not very often, and these ones are in best condition by far.
    7. lentilka11, 3 years ago
      cameosleuth - yes, I checked the cord now, it is white, clean and unfrayed, looks unused
    8. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 3 years ago
      Sounds then as though you could safely wear it if desired or sell it with an accurate representation that it is in wearable condition. Someday the metal clasp parts may cut their way through the cord, but no time soon. If the jump ring holding the barrel part of the clasp has been soldered closed, as it appears to be, necklace should be quite sturdy.
    9. valentino97 valentino97, 3 years ago
      I just enlarged pic 2 to look at the cord - I think it's waxed nylon, fairly new. I am pretty sure this is a necklace made of old parts - which our other members agree on. Nothing wrong with that!

      I don't know the history of Africa people forced to make necklaces, but it wouldn't surprise me. As we all know Czechoslovakia, Bohemia, Austria, Italy made gorgeous beads in the 20's on and sold them all around the world. I think they were fairly cheap might have sat in stores for years. :-)
    10. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 3 years ago
      I have never heard of necklace-making by forced labor, although there are cameos that were made in Russia by artists who may as well have been slaves.

      This is not just a bunch of random beads. Someone made design choices about which beads to use & the order in which to string them. They also demonstrate an understanding of making necklaces beyond stringing beads. Since it does not appear to have knots between them, the beads had to be chosen & ordered to create what I think of as joints between the larger beads. If they had strung only the large beads without knots, the necklace would not be very flexible. Suspect the little flat beads are also disguising what are probably quite large holes in the wooden beads, which would be quite conspicuous if not covered up. As I noted before, the ends are securely tied off & jump ring looks soldered. All of this care argues for craftsmanship rather than servitude, I think. :)
    11. lentilka11, 3 years ago
      No no no, I wanted to say communist regime forced prisoners in Czechoslovakia to make necklaces. So in Czechoslovakia, not in Africa. Our country was far from democracy. I am pretty sure about it, as I have read memoires of a former political prisoner.
      Well, not every necklace from Czechoslovakia was made in prison. But part of it certainly was.
      An interesting topic, I will try to google more about it.
    12. lentilka11, 3 years ago
      Found something here (if Google translate can translate that for you from slovak language in readable form, It should).

      A former political prisoner from basically says that he was in prison in Valdice in todays Czech republic, where he was forced to make glass beads for necklaces for Africa. He says that there was very hot, 60 - 64 °C (because of the process), and that he became blind on one eye.
    13. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 3 years ago
      If I am correct about the silver beads being Balinese/Indonesian, wherever & whenever these beads were born, it may not have been all in the same place nor in the same time period. Thanks for clarifying about its being the Czechs who were coerced into making jewelry. I'm sure much went on in those days that is unknown to those who did not experience it. :)
    14. lentilka11, 3 years ago
      Of course, I am sure most of the Czechoslovakia jewelry production was made by skilled crafters, not by prisoners. But part of it - probably after 1948 (communist coup) and until 1989 (Velvet revolution) apparently was made by prisoners.
    15. lentilka11, 3 years ago
      cameosleuth - thank you for the info about silver beads! So the necklace is apparently something newer indeed.
      How old can the silver beads be?
    16. lentilka11, 3 years ago
      cameosleuth, we have a state organization that works with the former secret service archives and publicizes them. Former political prisoners (the ones that still live) also wrote a lot of books about the regime. But the new generations are not very interested in that.
      My own grandfather was a political prisoner. Not for long though, but they tortured him in the jail. So, lets be happy that we live in democracy nowadays.
    17. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 3 years ago
      I see it was the glass beads they were forced to make, not wooden ones nor entire necklaces. Your translation is better than IM Translator's, which makes 'tak som robil bengál' into 'so I did a bengal'.

      Only the green 'snake vertebra' beads look like glass in the photos. Certainly possible they date to this period. :)
    18. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 3 years ago
      I'm not sure when these silver beads, also bead caps, first began to be on the market, but they are offered in any bead shop now as they are pretty & fairly inexpensive. This would seem to be an eclectic assortment of vintage beads + a vintage clasp that someone has assembled & strung in more recent times.
    19. valentino97 valentino97, 3 years ago
      Lentilka thank you for your posts providing me and Cameo more research about old beads like this necklace. I opened your link, but I couldn't translate the prisoner from Valdice. Can you translate? It sounds very disturbing to work in hot 60-64c temperatures.
    20. lentilka11, 3 years ago
      cameosleuth, I can remember I have read this book where it was written "they made necklaces" - but maybe the author meant glass beads with that.

      An interesting problem, I will try to find more on this.
    21. lentilka11, 3 years ago
      valentino97, sure, I can do so. Only part of the article is about beads making. This part are memories of Jaroslav Fabok from Lapáš. He was imprisoned in 1949 and was also a prisoner in Jáchymov (famous uranium mine, famous for "political" prisoners forced to work there)).
      Then there is written:
      "Z Jáchymovska išiel do väzenia vo Valdiciach, kde robili sklenené guli?ky na náhrdelníky pre Afriku, utrpel ochrnutie lícneho nervu a prestal vidie? na jedno oko. „V obrovskej dielni bolo 60 - 64 °C, robili sme len v trenírkach. Kto to ?ažko znášal, v priebehu zmeny vypil aj 10-11 litrov vody. Od prievanu som nevidel na jedno oko a ochrnulo mi líce, nemohol som ani jes?. Vraj to bude za týžde? v poriadku, nebolo však ani za 2 mesiace, tak som robil bengál, nech ma zlikvidujú otvorene, a nie takto. Išiel som na vyšetrenie, zas sa to zhoršilo, tak ma preložili na Pankrác. Trochu sa mi to tu zlepšilo, ale doteraz to nemám úplne v poriadku."

      in english:
      "From Jachymov he went (1=was sent) to a prison in Valdice, where they made glass beads for Africa, he suffered paralysis of the facial nerve and lost eyesight in one eye. „In a huge workshop there was 60 - 64 ° C, we were working only in underwear. Whoever bore it hard, he also drank 10-11 liters of water during the shift. I did not see on one eye from the draught and suffered paralysis in one cheek, I could not even eat. They said it will be OK in one week, but it wasnt Ok in 2 months, so I complained a lot (2 robit bengal = idiom for making a huge scene), that they should rather kill me openly, and not in this secret way. So I went to the doctor, and my health became even worse, so i was sent to Pankrac (3 =an another famous prison in Czech republic). My health is better now, but it is still not fully OK."
      1,2,3 = remarks from me
    22. lentilka11, 3 years ago
      I will try to find more info on this.
    23. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 3 years ago
      Think sometimes I am going to tell my boyfriend, Don't make such a bengal!

      Mention of a uranium mine makes me wonder if some were not forced to make uranium glass?
    24. lentilka11, 3 years ago
      cameosleuth :DDDDDDDD

      As for the uranium glass: I dont think so. The mine is famous around here, but I never heard about glass making. But who knows?

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