[Disclaimer for those just tuning in: I make reproductions of early medieval glass beads. The Norse (and many other cultures) used the swastika as a luck or fertility symbol for millennia before the German Nazi Party. I reproduce this item as a piece of Viking-era archaeology, not a modern political statement. Just wanted to clarify that.]
Over the last couple of years, I’ve probably spent hundreds of hours in the online collections of the Swedish National Historical Museum, looking at original glass beads from historical sites. If there’s one thing historical lampworking has taught me, it’s how to say “glass bead” in half a dozen different languages I don’t actually speak.
It has been immensely useful. I’m confident that I’m now at least half-literate in Swedish written museum terminology, and I found hundreds of beads from various excavations over the years. One of them was this beauty.
Yup, it’s definitely covered in swastikas. I don’t think that’d be too popular an item to recreate, despite the ~1000 year time difference between the Norse residents of Södermanland and the fun-loving psychopaths of the 20th century Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei.
Nevertheless, I’m a sucker for the documentably odd and unusual, so I decided to give it a shot. The stringer work was a little tricky. My first attempt didn’t work and I just turned it into a swirled black and white bead. The second attempt came out as a recognizable version of the original.
Mine came out a little shorter than the original, but you can still tell what it’s supposed to be. I doubt I’ll be making too many of these, though. There’s just too much room for misinterpretation. It was a fun challenge, though, and something rarely seen.