Database bead sample cards
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FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a bead sample card?

A bead sample card is, like the name says: a card made with sample beads. They have been used for at least 150 years to show which beads were for sale. Bead manufacturers and bead importers would sew or glue beads onto a card, so they could be taken around to potential customers. They could see the beads, and decide if they wanted to buy them. They are like a catalogue with real beads.

Some sample cards were made in bulk. They would be made by a bead manufacturing company and sent out to all the possible retailers. Other sample cards were 'made to order' where a client wanted to see a specific set of beads before buying in bulk. Other sample cards were made by collectors.

2. Where do these sample cards come from?

At the moment the collection of sample cards in the database comes from two main sources. The first source is the collection of Peter Francis, that belonged to the Bead Museum in Arizona. When the museum was forced to close down, most of the museum's collection went to the Mingei museum in San Diego. Other parts of the collection were sold. Through the generous help of Thomas Stricker, I was able to buy the sample cards that were still left. It is a great variety of sample cards, mostly Czech glass beads, plastic beads and seed beads from the 1970's and onwards.
The second source comes is the collection that I personally gathered through my travels. Most of these are czech sample cards, from after WWII. Some other sample cards are also included.

3. What makes bead sample cards interesting?

Many (though not all) sample cards have a company name on them, or a date. This gives accurate information for those studying and collecting beads, fashion, glass, plastics, etc. It shows which beads were available at a certain time, and it shows how techniques and styles evolve. Most of the sample cards in the database right now are from after WWII, so no older than 70 years. The cards show the history of the rise of the nationalized bead industry by the Jablonex company in (now) the Czech Republic. It shows the quick changes being made in seed bead production. It shows replica lampwork beads turning up from China and India. Sample cards are a living documentation of the history of beads.

4. Who is behind beadmuseum.com?

Beadmuseum.com is the bead website from Floor Kaspers, bead collector from the Netherlands. It is a not for profit effort to allow knowledge of beads to be shared around the world. Right now, the main activity of beadmuseum.com is to host the online database of bead sample cards. Hopefully, more and more resources will become available online in future years.

5. I have sample cards, can they be put online?

Yes, your sample cards can be added to the database so others can use it as a reference. If you send me an email, I will get back to you with specific instructions on the images and information needed for the database. Please note that I can only put images online when you have permission from the owner of the sample card. Pictures that were for example taken in a museum can only be used with the museum's permission.

6. How can I find a specific sample card?

You can find a specific sample card by it's unique number. Every card has a number, and when you see a card you may want to get back to, make a note of the number. You can find the card again by going to www.beadmuseum.com/samplecards/xxxxxx, with xxxxx being the card's number.

You can also search for a card, or a group of cards by using the google search bar on the page sample cards. You can for example search for a specific company, or a specific code on the sample card.

7. Can I share these images?

You can share the images on this website, through social media or otherwise, as long as you credit beadmuseum.com as the source.

8. Can I use the contents of the database offline?

Yes, you can. The database, and specific selection of the database can be converted to a PDF file. If, for example you have an interest in seed beads, it is possible to get a PDF with all the seed bead sample cards. If you email me, I will be happy to make a PDF file and send it to you. I will use Wetransfer for this, as they will be large files due to the images.

9. I have another question, how can I contact you?

I can be contacted by email: info@beadmuseum.com