Collared Beads

Sorry again for the delay in posts; I’m still sick. Feeling much better today, so hopefully by Thursday I’ll be back on track!

Collared gold foil bead from Kerala, India

Collared gold-foil bead

We’ve talked about segmented beads and gadrooned beads, so I thought we would stick with the theme of ‘modifications to the general shape of the bead’ and talk about collared beads.

Also, I just like collared beads.


Glass collar bead from southern India.

Glass collar bead from southern India.

Collared beads are any bead that has a line or indent on each end of the bead going all the way around to make little collars. This can just be a small line in the bead or it can be a bit of a bulge. So long as there is one on each end, it’s a collar.

See why I like them? They’re adorable.


Glass collar bead, southern India

Glass collar bead, India

Collar beads can be any material, since you can create collars just by carving a line into the bead. However, a glass bead that has a colored line around each end does not count as a collared bead. Collaring is carving into the material to create collars, however small the carving may be. It’s not adding different colors to create the design.


Collared beads are found in a number of places, since you can make them using any material. I’ve seen a number from Indian sites and some from Southeast Asia, but they’re also found in Norse, Roman, and Egyptian contexts. Some collared beads were found from contexts at Ur dating to the 3rd millennium BC. But a number of scholars say that collar beads are South Indian due to the much larger numbers of collared beads found there.
What I haven’t seen too much of is people using collared beads in modern, Western beading. I’ve seen them used in modern Asian beadwork, but not so much here. If you do anything with beads, do you use collared beads in your work? Let me know in the comments!


About Heather Christie

Heather is an archaeologist, photographer, and writer whose research focuses on beads and bead trade, particularly in a maritime sense. She's currently working working on a PhD in Digital Design (focusing on heritage visualisation) at the Glasgow School of Art.
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2 Responses to Collared Beads

  1. Pingback: Around the Archaeology Blog-o-sphere Digest #10 | Doug's Archaeology

  2. Pingback: Monochrome Beads | Stringing the Past

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