Élise Vanriest


Brad Loewen

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This article presents beadmaking in Paris during the second half of the 16th century as seen through period documents and artifacts. Parisian archives document beadmaking by artisans called patenôtriers who made a wide range of glass buttons and jewelry, including beads. Records of the patenôtriers’ guild provide an idea of the number of artisans engaged in this activity, while notarial contracts and estate inventories reveal individual careers and the material dimension of beadmaking in Paris. Patenôtriers obtained their materials – soda glass and enamel supplied as tubes, rods, or ingots – from glassmakers in rural France, Altare in Italy, and a small glassworks that operated in the suburb of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in 1598-1608. They exported rosary beads to Iberia and trade beads to North America. In European terms, Paris was a major beadmaking center during the 16th century and we know its products from a small number of archaeological finds and museum holdings.

Publisher Information

The Society of Bead Researchers is a non-profit scientific-educational corporation founded in 1981 to foster historical, archaeological, and material cultural research on beads and beadwork of all materials and periods, and to expedite the dissemination of the resultant knowledge. Membership is open to all persons involved in the study of beads, as well as those interested in keeping abreast of current trends in bead research.



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