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"Baubles, Bangles and Beads, who knows where it may lead..."

Baubles, Bangles and Beads is lyrics of a song from the Broadway play, Kismet.  The words continue, "who knows where it may lead, wearing baubles, bangles and beads?"  At the Huntington Historical Society, we have been lead to our costume collection where we featured a few of our beaded and decorated objects in this special exhibition.

It is interesting to ponder the evolution of beads from the beginning of time to the contents of this exhibition.  Beads are seen throughout history as early as 30,000 B.C.  Modern bead usage is 'just a wrinkle in time".  We think of beads as a from of adornment.  Throughout history, however, they have functioned as a from of monetary exchange as well as spiritual symbolism.  Some Psychiatrists over the years have traced the wearing of beads to giving a sense of security through connection with the eye and sight.

In all cases, beads are used in some way to communicate status.  The period of time represented in this exhibit is 1850 to 1930 where they were used as adornment and ceremony.  Various types of beads in this exhibit demonstrate the lavish usage of adornment from "top to toe".