Most Ancient Egyptian beads were made of
faience, a glass-composite glaze which was
introduced as early as the Pre-Dynastic period.
According to Egyptologists, such beads were
made on an axis, probably of thread, which would
burn up during firing, leaving a hole. Disc, ring and
tubular beads were made by coating the axis with
the unfired body-paste, rolling the cylinder to an
even diameter on a flat surface, and then scoring
it with a knife into sections of the desired length.
Other shapes, such as ball beads, were rolled
between the hands and perforated while still wet
with a stiff point such as a wire needle. The beads
were then dried, coated with glaze (if the glaze
had not already been mixed with the paste), and
fired. The firing process often gave the beads a
beautiful translucent quality. The majority of
faience beads are blue or green in color, but black,
red, yellow and white ones were also produced,
especially in the New Egyptian Kingdom. In the art
of Ancient Egypt, we see lovely women adorned
with such jewels. To wear these beads today is to
follow in the royal tradition of Nefertiti,
Tutankhamen and Cleopatra.