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Beads that are 100 years or older are called antique beads. They are very rare, and can often only be purchased in deceased estate sales, or online from other enthusiasts. Antique beads can also be freed from buttons and decorations on old clothing that would otherwise not be that valuable, because of the deterioration of the fabric.
How to identify antique beads? Older beads typically have larger holes. Modern manufacturing processes are able to create things on a smaller and more precise level, while older craftsmanship would produce holes of a larger scale. While holes tend to be much larger in antique beads, the tiny sized 16-24 seed beads are not produced in modern society. They take too much labor to make because of their minuscule size, but were made hundreds of years ago.
They are only available today as antique beads. These tiny antique beads were used in the past for exquisite purses. Collectors would generally purchase this sized bead to admire. Such tiny seeded antique beads are very difficult to use. Each bead can only be sewn through once. They are very hard and fiddly to use in any project.
Such small antique beads as these would most likely be purchased as part of another antique item. Their size means they wouldn't be sought after for contemporary beading projects. Antique beads should also have a surface that has been exposed to the environment over a long period of time. They should look aged and worn, but still in good condition.