Estimating the Value of Millefiori Beads

Millefiori beads have their origins in Venice, Italy, where they were made of glass and used as trade beads. The value of millefiori beads today is determined by the material the beads are made out of, the workmanship of the beads, and the time that the beads were made.

These beads spread throughout Europe and Africa as a means of exchange for food and slaves in the 1800s. The value of millefiori beads grew with time as the trading expanded and soon these beads became symbols of status, as money is today.

Millefiori beads subsided in use when other forms of currency began taking roots in Europe, but they were revived later as ornaments. The beads were imported to the Americas in the 1960s, and their reference as trade beads ended and they emerged as “Love Beads” during the Hippy movement at the time.

The “Flower Children” especially gravitated to the value of the millefiori beads because they represented nature through their beautiful floral designs. They spread out in the Americas and the rest of the world specifically through the Hippies, who wore and shared them as one of their symbols of their beliefs.

As time went by, the original millefiori glass beads became rare to find, and it led to African traders to go deeper into their own territories to get more. Since the glass cane technique of making the beads was gradually phased out, finding authentic handmade beads became difficult.

The value of the millefiori beads grew even more because now antique collectors and bead enthusiasts consider them as collectibles. If you happen to find real millefiori beads that were made in Venice, or traded in Africa, or even worn by our Flower Children, it will be very expensive and in need of proper care.

Today, millefiori beads are made out of polymer clay, which is a common material to find and easier to use than glass. With this occurrence, modern millefiori clay beads are quite affordable as compared to millefiori glass beads. This alternative type of millefiori beads has become very popular, which in a way reflects the beauty and value of millefiori beads regardless of the material used to make them.

One thing remains true of both antique and modern millefiori beads, and that is that they are still held dear by those who wear them. So whichever type of beads you acquire, the value of millefiori beads will always be precious to you.

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