The necklace measure 18 inches long and features Russian blue beads, Hudson Bay white hearts, China black beads and red seed beads. These beads are from the Alert Bay/ Fort Rupert area where there was a Hudson’s Bay trading post that bought furs from the Kwakwakw’wakw people. These beads have an actual history of being traded in the fur trade.
Hudson bay white hearts were traded during the fur trade era. In the mid-1800’s they became known as Hudson Bay beads. They had two distinct colors of glass – one layered over the other. The outer layer was red and the inside layer was green, yellow, or white. The newer versions of the Hudson Bay beads are known as white hearts and have a white inner layer and a clear glass exterior from the range of the rainbow colors. Sizes and shapes vary. They are made today in France, Czech Republic, and India.
Originally Russian blues were made in Bohemia. They really don’t have a lot to do with Russia. They were actually shipped across Russia to China where they were faceted. The faceted blue beads were then shipped to Alaska and down the North American Coast and into the North American “Northwest”. They appeared in Alaska just prior to the 1870’s. They were popularly traded during the fur trade era. They are glass beads known for their numerous and irregular facets, and blue coloring; transparent and opaque. There were deviations in the number of facets and they were made in white, light blue, and black. The old ones are collectible. Today the new Russian blues, (glass faceted Russian cuts), are known for their beauty. They are made in the Czech Republic in a variety of sizes and colors in fine glass that the Czech Republic is known for.