For the last 2 millennia, Estonian women have worn colorful beads made out of glass, which were brought here from Scandinavia or Novgorod. While during the 1st and 2nd century B.C. the beads were a luxury, then a century ago they were worn daily and the lack of beads might have suggested poverty.
In Estonian archives, there are a lot of examples about what the beads might have looked like. Only the used pearls are known about the earlier beads, but the queue of the pearls is known about most of the beads that were made since the Middle Ages. As time passed, patterns and symmetry became more and more important. Many of the pearls themselves had acquired a specific meaning. For instance, small dots on the peals were eyes, which were used to protect the wearer from the jealousy of the “evil eye.” Another fine example were pearls (especially black ones) with swirls on them, which brought good luck. We can only assume that each sign and color had a specific meaning and thus even the queue of the pearls might have carried a special message.
When it comes to necklaces, Estonia is a land of glass and even though glass bead necklaces haven’t been quite as popular during the last few decades, they are still thought of as fashionable accessories.