Sunday, December 05, 2004

The thread thread

Just to follow up recent discussions on what beads are threaded on --

I recently re-read two chapters of the invaluable and weighty tome Medieval European Jewellery by Ronald Lightbown, namely "Jewellery for Men & Women, Gifts & Religious Offerings" and "Paternoster Beads."

I was actually looking for something else, but I came up with a couple of specific descriptions of what beads were threaded on, which I thought I'd mention. Somewhat unfortunately for us, these are about beads belonging to relatively wealthy people, so it doesn't tell us much about ordinary folks. Still, it's something.

1432, Rene of Anjou. "Beads of musk, strung on a cord of silk and gold thread."

1498, Lady Anne Scrope. Left to Our Lady of Walsingham, "ten beads of her great gold paternoster, which was threaded with crimson silk and gold, and had a great button of gold, and a tassel of the same cord." (The "button" referring presumably to an especially fancy bead at the end.)

1503, Robert Preston, a glazier of York. Left "a set of ten chalcedony beads threaded on a lace of green silk with a gilt pendant of St. Martin."

Posts in this series:

String or Nothing
The thread thread
String Theory
Threads of silk and gold
Of flexwire and time machines