Amber beads from the Baltic: 15th century
© Museum of London
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Eight yellow amber beads: four rectangular, three round and one hexagonal. The round and hexagonal beads have holes in the centre. Baltic amber was a precious and highly valued commodity in medieval times. In the late 1400s the major centre for amber bead manufacture was Bruges. Over 400 craftsmen were employed in workshops there, and in 1496 the English Merchant Adventurers established permanent facilities at Antwerp, boosting trade to London from this region. Amber varies in colour from orange through yellow, to off-white. It was one of the most popular semi-precious minerals to be used in bead production. Beads were used for rosaries or on the elaborate trimmings of clothing.
1460 AD - 1500 AD