Italian Whiteheart Beads – Large Red Orange Tubes


Antique Italian white heart seed beads – large red orange cylinders


These antique Venetian glass white heart beads are a rich shade of red orange. Whitehearts were used in the African bead trade, and they are often seen in old Native American beadwork as well. Because of how they were traded around the world, they’re often referred to as “trade beads”. Whether it is due to their history or their beauty, these old and uncommon beads are quite collectible.


✭ Material = glass
✭ Size = approximately 4 x 5 mm tube bead
✭ Quantity = 10 grams or 1 ounce

They’re cylinder or tube shaped beads, measuring (very) approximately 4 mm wide by 5 mm long. There are about 6-7 beads per inch when strung. Their irregular size and shape attests to their handmade nature.

Also known as “Hudson Bay” or “Cornaline D’Allepo” beads, this style was produced in Italy from the early 1800s to the 1960s – though this particular stock dates from between the late 1800’s – early 1900’s. The name “white heart” references the core of white glass at the center of the bead. Back then, red glass was made using real gold, so these beads were very expensive to produce. In order to conserve the red/gold glass, it was wound around a white core. When strung, the white is hardly visible – but if you lay the beads with the hole facing up, you can see the white at the heart of each bead. Over the years these beads have acquired a lovely translucent patina.

This listing is for a bag of the large red-orange tube beads, shown alone in the first 4 photos.

Additional information

Weight .2 oz
Dimensions 2 × 2 × 1 in

10 grams, 1 ounce (28 grams)