I was going through my mother's cedar chest and came across some fringed
leather bags with beads on the fringes. These probably date to the 20's
or 30's. Some of the beads look like early African trade beads:
rectangular, round or oblong glass, decorated with loops, circles, blobs
or zig-zags in glass. There's a waxy feel to the beads, but it could be
from having sat in a cedar chest in a plastic bag next to leather for
decades. However, the decoration on some of the beads feels fragile, as
if I could scrape it off with my fingernail.
Does anyone know what on earth I have here, especially why the beads
would feel fragile?