The chevron bead is arguably one of the most, if not the most, popular bead of all time.
In Italy they are called “Perla Rosetta”, and in English they are also known as “Star beads”. Known in Hausa as “Bakim-Mutum" or “the King of Beads”, chevron beads were reserved for kings and prosperous tribesmen to wear as jewelry.
First invented in about 1500 by the Venetians, they continue to be produced today. Chevrons are a specialized cane or drawn glass bead.
They are formed by blowing a single or multiple layers of glass into a tapered mold with corrugated glass, thus producing the points on its outer surface.
This pleated gather is subsequently encased with additional glass layers of the desired colors, which may again be molded to produce further outer layers with points.
Still viscid, this multi-layered, hollow gather is then drawn into a cane of at least six feet, cooled, and finally sectioned into beads.
In Africa, there is a long-held belief among traders that chevron beads grow in the sands of the Sahara. And indeed, many of the old chevrons are still being excavated in Africa.
This is due, however, to the fact that the decoration of the deceased was considered to be a sign of dignity and prosperity, and as such, was buried with the individual only to be uncovered later in the sand generations later.