In its smallest and most ancient form, the bead is a seed about three millimetres in length.
In 10,000 BC, beads were manufactured by local artisans in Africa out of ostrich eggshells. Palaeolithic settlements in Siberia made beads from mammoth ivory and in 4,000 BC Egyptians made them of stone glazed with glass. A century later, Sumerian civilisations crafted them from gold. In the 16th century, Spanish conquistadores bestowed Venetian glass beads on the indigenous...
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