In this photo are the beads I made at Apprentice Weekend – I was trying for Cylindrical Pentagonal Anglo-Saxon beads – dated 555 to 650 – about 10mm diameter, and the length is 10mm or longer – some quite a bit longer. The colors found historically were white, red, yellow, and greyish blue. This classification is from Glass Beads from Anglo-Saxon Graves.

The 6 beads on the left are “perfect” – within my understanding of the historical specifications. The group of 10 beads next to it are flawed in some way – the diameter is too big, the pentagonal shape is too uneven, or the color is wrong. (I don’t have any greyish blue glass) However, these beads are usable, just not top quality.

The 4 white beads at the bottom of the photo are deeply flawed. I smoked the glass on some, and the pentagonal shape is really off on some of them, as well, I hadn’t figured out the trick for nice ends yet. (Yes, I started with white that day.) These go into “don’t do this” demo category, or as beads for preschoolers. (When they chances are high they will break or lose the beads, no real point is using the best quality.)

The tiny red bead off to the side isn’t flawed, I just haven’t looked up what is the appropriate time/place for it’s size – shape – color.


Brugmann, Birte. 2004. Glass beads from early Anglo-Saxon graves: a study on the provenance and chronology of glass beads from early Anglo-Saxon graves, based on visual examination. Oxford: Oxbow.

You can download the data table from this book, which is stored there since it is too large for publication in any other fashion. You may have to make a log in first, and then try the link again.