Venetian Millefiori Trade Beads (C) A set of three Venetian Millefiori trade beads from the 1800's. I have several sets for sale and I've categorised them by size and colour as much as I can. This set are approx. 15 x 13mm The beading hole is 3mm. Please do not expect perfection in these beads. They are very old, very roughly cut and may contain the odd chip here and there, which due to their very nature, actually adds to their beauty. Price: 14.00 * * * * * History of Millefiori beads Millefiori trade beads are Venetian, meaning they were all made in Venice. They got the name from the fact that they had floral patterns. The floral patterns were included because of the intrinsic value Africans placed on decorative items. The first Millefiori trade beads were used in Africa in the late 1800s, but they could have been used in the mid 1800s. These beads continued to be used through to the early 1900s. They were made on commission basis by Europeans who wanted to ease their way through Africa. Each commission had different specifications and this explains the difference in design and color. They were mostly used in West Africa where most of the slave trade took place. Africans were enthusiastic about these beads because they placed a lot of intrinsic value on decorative items and because they thought they were genuine currency. They used them to trade among themselves and for various other uses. * * * * * Many people are making trade beads that mimic the original trade beads. To get the genuine beads, do not expect flawlessness, buy from an established online or offline store.