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October 10, 2021 1 min read

Antique and unique, Hudson Bay silver crosses are one-of-a-kind creations with a long history, some dating back up to four centuries.

From about the mid-17th century to the early 19th century, there was a robust trade in the upper East Coast region in which Europeans would often barter trinkets of silver to the indigenous people of the area in exchange for furs. (The silver trade expanded beyond just these cross pendants; we’ll talk more about that in an article to come.) While not always the case, traditional Hudson Bay cross tends to have some signature characteristics: they’re usually relatively thin, flat pieces of silver, the tips of the crosses are often scalloped, and many iterations have multiple crossbars. Authentic vintage and antique Hudson Bay crosses are almost always hallmarked HB. You’ll also find that many of these crosses will have heart cutouts and some are even adorned with a bead of, say, green glass for instance. They can be hung as decor, but they are most commonly found as pendants on beaded necklaces.

Another commodity of the era and area was colorful African or Venetian trade beads, which would then be fashioned into necklaces, with the crosses as pendants. While many of the trade beads on the necklaces you’ll find these days are replicas, we have collected a few authentic antique pieces as well as worked with artisans using actual vintage trade beads paired with contemporary silverwork. There are a number of artisans keeping the traditional style alive.

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