I have many pieces old family jewelry from the mid 1800’s onward.
These beads have a sad, but interesting story.
Family history says they were made from a bouquet of flowers given to my Great-Great Aunt Nellie.
Her husband was working in a sawmill and died from an accident there in 1892. Born November 19, 1858. 34 years old.
He had given her the bouquet several days prior.
They were married in 1884. Had no children.
I have about 24 pink beads and a partial necklace in orange. Some are pressed to look like roses. Some smaller ones are round.
Was using the pink beads in Treasure Necklaces.
This complete necklace is listed for sale at Ruby Lane for $799.00.
Including the description. I love the history and techniques behind all old jewelry.
This antique pink colored Rose Petal necklace is a very beautiful example of antique jewelry methods. The striking rose flower molded beads with rock crystal spacer beads is something that gives it that extra refinement, making it instead of good or better this one is one of the best of this type of necklace I have ever seen. 38" long. Usually these beads are black and have been made as mourning jewelry, but this necklace has been made of dyed rose petal beads which is very unusual. Rose petal beads are very porous so there is some age related wear but all the beads are intact. It is hard to comprehend how many roses would go into the making of these beads. Literally pounds of fresh material is needed to make these molded beads. The same amount of rose petals would make a lot of perfume, distilled in a totally different process. It will tickle your senses as it still has the beautiful scent of roses after all these years that wafts up to your nose as you wear it.
The history behind a piece like this is worth knowing as people will be asking you about this unusual necklace when you wear it. The attention it will attract will allow you to share the charming story of Rose Petal mourning jewelry.
To make this type of bead Rose Petals were cooked for several days. When they reached the desired clay like consistency they were mashed, dyed and hand molded into the desired size. After several days of drying they were pierced and strung.
The origin of Rose Petal Beads can be traced to ancient India where strings of them were used by the devout as a counting device while reciting their prayers. Rose Beads were adopted by Eastern Christian Monks in the third century. Many old rosaries were made from Rose Beads. The term “rosary” was coined in the fifteenth century based on the Latin word rosarium for “rose garden”. The Middle English word for prayer is bede.
I would love to see more examples of 1800’s rose petal jewelry or Rosaries.
Thanks for posting the beads @fernwood . I have not come across these in all my travels. They must be quite scarce.
Thanks for posting this, @fernwood. Fascinating. I’ve never heard of them, but my husband’s family is Catholic so of course I’m familiar with the rosary. It interested my husband also.
They’re beautiful, and even better, you have a family story with them. That makes them all the more special.
Hey, that’s wild!
In all my years of looking at jewelry, I’ve never heard about this type of bead.
This is so interesting, I love a piece that you can trace back its history in the family. This was super cool knowledge to share. Thanks so much
Very cool! I mean, not that they were used for mourning, but what an interesting material and method to create these. I’ve never heard of them.
I am so happy you posted the Rose necklace. I have being trying to research one for a few months now.
I love your family’s history and the pink beads are so pretty.
I know nothing about mine, as it was an estate sale find. Does yours have the scent of roses still? I keep mine in a small plastic bag by itself and it has retained the scent. They are so lightweight, and and a white creamy color.
I wondered about the “seam” around each bead, but your explanation of being pressed makes perfect sense. Mine is not as old yours, as you can see from the clasp. It has 32 beads with the rock crystal spacers. There is a set of earrings with clear plastic clips glued on the back.
Your necklace is very pretty. I have never seen earrings before.
Often, 1800’s rose/flower petal necklaces were used as mourning jewelry and black.
This type of necklace/beads has a great history.
I find the family history makes them truly priceless.
Without your post and sharing your story, I had not been able to learn anything about Rose bead jewelry.
How the beads are made is fascinating.
I wonder what the story of my beads are? White from a wedding dress? Christening Gown?
You are very fortunate to know your story. Thank you for taking the time to share.
I included the history of them and all the beads with the treasure necklaces I made.
Don’t let the clasp necessarily fool you @hisweetpotato . With all the effort involved in their creation it is unlikely they were reproduced. I think it’s more likely the original clasp broke and was replaced. Not being considered “fine” jewelry, a common clasp would likely have been used.
There is that possibility that the clasp could have been changed. Thank you for pointing that out.
I was very grateful to fernwood for explaining how they were made. I had been thinking they were a light bead of some kind hand carved to look like a rose. Fernwood’s use of the words “Rose Petal beads” brought up the answers I was searching for. Knowing the right words can make all the difference when searching…
This type of bead is still made today…some changes in the way they are made I am sure. There is a lady in a shop near me that makes these memorial beads from dried flowers.
Thank you. That is nice to know.
A long time ago I was interested in making rose petal beads… but I procrastinated and the rose petals I saved became a little too old so I ended up throwing them out, and not making anything!
However, I did save the link that gave instructions – and although the webpage is no longer there, you can see an archived copy thanks to the Wayback Machine. So, sharing it in case anyone would like to make handmade rose petal beads of their own
Making Rose Petal Beads (article)