Marie & Andrew Gussmann
PO Box 1995, Browning, MT 59417-1995
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Here is where you may find photos that are of interest. In this area you will see photos of objects that we have made exact color matches to our stock of vintage Italian seed beads, other-wise known as Venetian seed beads. Our beads are true vintage seed beads, not to be confused with the newer "Old Time Color French Seed Beads," or "Bovis Beads." Our beads are the true vintage Italian seed beads in some of the most sought after colors including major background colors for period pieces.
If you have used our Vintage Italian seed beads in either restoration, replication, or in a newly designed piece we would love to have a photo of the piece. You can send it as an image preferably in jpeg (jpg) format, or whatever you can do. We can post it here either anonymously or credited whichever way you prefer. If you decide to do that, well, then, a big thanks in advance!
We have matched our vintage Italian seed bead stock to objects in many different collections, both public as well as private collections. Here is a short list of some of the collections we have matched our beads to: the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Nez Perce Museum in Spalding, Plains Indian Museum in Browning, two private collections in Washington state, two private collections in Montana, Yakama Nations Museum in Toppenish, Yakima Valley Museum in Yakima, Portland Art Museum, Oregon Historical Society Museum in Portland, High Desert Museum in Bend, Warm Springs Museum on the Reservation, and elsewhere. We have made multiple matches to most of our bead stock. Some of these collections have a very broad scope as far as tribal origin of the material within their respective collections. We can honestly say we have bead colors that represent usage from the Woodlands Indians, through the Prairie tribes, then out across the Plains, and down onto to the Columbia Plateau. We have also matched beads on Sub Arctic, Northwest Coast, Southwest and California material. We just opened a large crate with over 40 different colors/shades within it, so we will be on the matching trail again.
Another quite interesting point is that we have matched our beads across time, across the years. What we mean in this regard is we have matched bead color, shape, and sheen to pieces that represent the time period from the 1870 era through and beyond 1900. A large percentage of the matches were in the 1885 and later period only because that period is more representative of what is available for view at the institutions that we were able to do extensive matching at.
We hope you enjoy these matches as much as we enjoyed making them! We invite you to come along for a small part of what has become a journey for us in this photographic archive. We will add more photos later as time allows. Between the two of us we have taken thousands of digital images and notes. Enjoy!
This shirt is from the Nez Perce Museum stacks and was put out on the display table to be examined closely by members of the Conference for the study of the Material Culture of the Plains, Prairie, and Plateau Indians held at Lewiston, Idaho in September of 2007.
As you can see in the next photos we were able to match a yellow and green bead exactly to the piece.
Here is Andrzej "gloved up" and matching one of our yellows to this magnificent Nez Perce shirt. The finger at the top of the photo is pointing to the matching bead row. Within an e-mail after receiving his order Georg Barth excitedly called this bead as one of the "dream beads" in our stock of beads. The color, sheen, and opacity/translucency matched perfectly. We are glad that John Mcloughlin of the 19th century HBC did not buy the entire stock of beads but left a few kilos for the rest of us. The number for this color on our sample card is #804, we only have a limited stock of this color available, when it is gone, well, it is gone!
Here we see a match to the green used in the lane stitched border on the shirt strip. We have sold a lot of this green to people in the restoration business, one of them said it is "the best green on the market."
Another striking old Plateau piece done in Italian Seed Beads is this Nez Perce horse collar, also from the stacks of the Nez Perce Museum in Spalding. If you have not visited the museum it is well worth the effort to get there. The staff is very kindly and helpful and they also have an excellent research library on the premises. Make advance arrangements for the use of the library before you go though.
Here we have another perfect match to the blue background on this Nez Perce horse collar panel. The panel is a beauty, with the classic double diamond design in a "Plateau" or "Crow" blue field. This style of beadwork is still under investigation as to origin and the folks that do the investigation give this style of beadwork the term "transmontane". If you want to learn more about it study Barbara Loeb's dissertation on the subject from the University of Washington, a great work on this area of interest.
Here we have a match to the "red white heart" in the diamond element on the horse collar. What is a red white heart? It is a bead with a translucent/transparent or semi translucent/transparent red outer color and over a white center or inner color. In other words the outside surface or layer of glass is red, and the hole or inner layer of the bead is chalk white. This type of bead has become quite scarce in any quantity. There are other names used for this type of bead, red under white, white hearts, and so on.
Bill Holm and Andrzej Gussmann matching the light greasy blue beads on this extremely beautiful Lakota pipe bag. The beads matched perfectly in size and color to our bead #14 and in color to bead #12, #13, #14, and #15.
Here is a full shot of the pipe bag that Bill Holm and Andrzej are inspecting in the last photograph.
Here is a close-up photo of the Lakota pipe bag, and matching bead, our Italian seed bead #14. A very scarce and sought after vintage Italian seed bead color. Used on Lakota material, as well as Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Crow, and Plateau material. We saw this bead used on rolled edges and as an accent color on Crow pieces in the Glenbow Museum storage, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and elsewhere. It is also used on the horse collar as a background color displayed at the Nez Perce Museum.
Here is another piece where our light greasy blue Italian seed bead is used. Look at the horse color strap, It is used between/under the yellow triangular elements in the bar. The buffalo horn tip is pointing directly at one of the squares of this color in the upper bar. The photo was taken through glass so it is not as clear as we would like it to be.
Here is an image of a beautiful whistle with incised lines and three finger holes for different pitches. The whistle is attached to a beaded bandoleer that only adds the beauty of this fine piece. We have not seen many of these three-hole whistles in collections, thus a scarce piece!
A beautiful whistle with incised lines and three finger holes for different pitches. The whistle is attached to a beaded bandoleer that only adds the beauty of this fine piece. We have not seen many of these three hole whistles.
A Plains bow case and quiver with beautifully beaded sleeves at both ends. This bow case is a great piece with many different colors of vintage Italian seed beads. The case is lost in among other nice material but in the next photos you will see some detail and close-ups of the Italian seed beads that it is made with. (see the center of the photo).
Here is a close-up of one of the sleeves showing a match to our Vintage Italian seed bead or Venetian seed bead #30.
Here is another close-up of one of the sleeves showing a match to our Italian or Venetian seed bead #29. Note the tight beading that went into this sleeve. A great sinew sewn example of a sleeve from this type of Plains bow case. This is probably the best known type of bow case, although the otter skin bowcase and quiver from the South Eastern Plateau is an exquisite piece in its own right. We will take a look at one of these old quivers here in the photo section later!
Mark Miller closely inspecting the details of this Plains bow case and quiver. The photo was taken at the Material Culture of the Plains, Prairie, and Plateau Conference, 2007 in Lewiston, Idaho.
Here is a close-up of the side panel on a Plains tipi bag. We matched our vintage Italian seed bead #612 to the green on the side panel. I failed to get a photo of the entire bag, sorry.
Here is an image of a very colorful pair of moccasins from the Plateau. On the Plateau most of the collected moccasins are of the side seam type. In this photo we are referring to the center pair, not the two singles at each side.
Here we have matched the red accent color in the leaf element to our #204 red white heart vintage Italian seed bead. Others refer to this bead as an under white, or red, white lined, and I am sure there are other names for it. Scroll back up to the photo titled "Our Bead Red White Heart #206, Matching the Red on the Nez Perce Horse Collar" for further discussion on the topic of white lined beads.
Here is a very nice old belt drop. We were able to match both the bead #51 and #52 to this drop. We will have more on panel belts and belt drops later, so we will see you then!