top of page


Date: 1920s

Material: silk crepe de chine, glass beads, metal snaps



Label: None

Brown silk crepe de chine 1920s dress with a drop waist, accentuated by a thick horizontally gathered waistline and a black glass bead decoration with strands of freely moving beaded fringe.  At the neckline, there is a beaded design in copper and black glass cylindrical beads.  Sleeves are lined with a light ocher crepe de chine that is visibly seen through sits running up the exterior side of the arm.  Two panels drop from the waistband and frame the boxy skirt, and are lined with the same ocher crepe de chine fabric.  Dress snaps up from the left proper waist to the armpit, then follows the line of the bust up to the front of the shoulder and neckline.  Snaps range from every 1.5 to 2.5 inches.


Bust: 32 inches

Waist: 31 inches

Shoulder to shoulder: 12.75 inches

Neck to bottom front: 37.75 inches

Underarm to side bottom edge: 32 inches

More Information: Textured crepe de chine with a contrasting ocher lining, this early 1920s dress utilizes a black glass ornamentation to draw the eye toward the drop waist. If you look closely, these beads have what is called ‘glass bead disease’ – or an irreversible process that results in a white crusty debris, eventually eating away at the entire bead. Typically found in beads made from cheaper materials, the glass begins to decay when in contact with water, high amounts of carbon dioxide, or numerous other environment factors. Crystallized salts bubble surface of the bead, creating miniscule fractures that eventually break the bead apart.

Primarily seen in blue Native American trade beads, the black beads in this case have reacted to the metal substrate, forming the white crystals you see surrounding the beads. Once started, this process cannot be stopped, and the beads will continue to deteriorate until they break apart or disintegrate altogether.

bottom of page