Heart of Glass: Glass beads in Native Art

Since the arrival of Europeans to the Americas, glass beads have been widely traded and incorporated into Native art. For many hundreds of years, Venice was the center of European glass production, and Italian glass found its way to the most remote corners of the world.

Beginning in the 19th century, Czech glass makers took predominance , and small cottage factories produced huge amounts of glass for export.

While the Southwest has always been associated with turquoise, it was not always as plentiful or as available as it is today. In the early 20th century, Lorenzo Hubble imported a characteristic light blue opaque Czech glass, in beads as well as larger chunks. Still known as Hubble glass, today it is a collectible in its own right.

In presenting this collection, we are celebrating that sometimes even the most commonplace materials can be used to create precious objects.