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Roman Glass hit the market in a frenzy a few years ago. All of a sudden, "ancient" glass was being discovered and dug up all over Afghanistan. There is definitely a historical presence of Roman glass as well as Persian and Egyptian glass in the region, but the quantities and availability kind of make our eyebrows go up a bit...

This strand: Exact beads shown. 18" of beads (44 cm). Finish off the strand with a closure to make it into a necklace or separate the beads to make something new.

Here's a bit of history from Wikipedia:
"Roman glasswares were already making their way from Western Asia (i.e. the Parthian Empire) to the Kushan Empire in Afghanistan and India and as far Han Empire of China; the first Roman glass found in China came from an early 1st century BC tomb at Guangzhou.

In addition to this a major new technique in glass production had been introduced during the first century AD. Glassblowing allowed glass workers to produce vessels with considerably thinner walls, decreasing the amount of glass needed for each vessel. Glass blowing was also considerably quicker than other techniques, and vessels required considerably less finishing, representing a further saving in time, raw material and equipment. Although earlier techniques dominated during the early Augustan and Julio-Claudian periods, by the middle to late first century AD earlier techniques had been largely abandoned in favour of blowing."

Beyond the Roman influence, glass blowing and techniques were a highly specialized art form through the middle east. This Wikipedia article has some nice images: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_glass

So, now we see necklaces similar to the one shown here coming out of Afghanistan and Pakistan and claiming to be thousands of years old. Hmmmm.... Have you been paying hundreds and thousands for Roman Glass? Here's a hint: We think some talented artisans are reaching back into their own traditions and coming up with some pretty cool glass beads. You can get a fair deal here.


Afghan Tribal Arts specializes in handcut, unpolished beads from Afghanistan and the region. Working with artisans directly in the Peshawar region, your purchase helps support small workshops who work in traditions established over centuries in the Silk Road. Afghanistan has great wealth in its natural resources, including an endless variety of semi-precious stones. Unpolished stones take in the oils of the skin with wear and develop a deep patina over time.

Recognizing that these strands are more expensive than the dyed and commercial stones that flood the market these days, we encourage our customers to think of buying with other friends and splitting the strands or to buy quantity in order to save on shipping. Free shipping on orders over $100.

Afghan Tribal Arts has been working with Afghan artists for more than 20 years. Handcarved semi-precious beads are the core focus of the business, but we also have a huge inventory of old and new textiles, carvings and metal work. Visit our shop here on Etsy to see our beautiful treasures!

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Free shipping on all purchases over $100 in the US. (Discounts given on shipping for international orders over $100)

Roman Glass Bead Strand from Afghanistan, 6