Russian Blue Trade Beads – Early trading on the Northwest Coast

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Russian Blue Trade Bead

Some time ago, I thought it would be a nice gift to give someone a strain of Russian blue beads. Not many families on the coast and in the Pacific Northwest have the antique beads used by the traders from Europe and Asia for exchange of fur bearing animals such as Sea Otter and Beaver. After learning how the beads were made in the early days and comparing it to the technology used today not a lot has changed. And now among the 1st Nations People of the Pacific Northwest, the new contemporary beads are used in different kinds of gift giving ceremonies and gatherings. The people now can share a little knowledge and the history of the bead as well as the gift. By adding a verity of colors, Red, Green, Black, as well as blue, has sizes range from 6 mm to 14 mm, and people find that mixing the colors adds to the value of the gift.

The Russian Blue bead can now continue to live on amongst the native people, they are a living example of our history as a people capable of living through some of the harshest times any person can imagine.

I have enjoyed the process of bringing back some of the history of the Tlingit, Haida, Nuu-chan-nauth Makah Quileute and Chinook to name a few of the tribes that traded their furs for these blue beads. It has been a lot of work; it doesn’t have much to being creative from an artist few, but to see people’s eyes light up when first s brings

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