The name "Bead" comes from the Anglo Saxon word "Bidden" - to pray - probably from their use as beaded rosaries.
For thousands of years beads have played an important role in every major culture throughout the world – as talismans in prehistoric and contemporary societies, as status symbols in the ancient world, as religious articles in the Buddhist, Christian and Islamic faiths and as a standard medium of barter throughout the world.
Semi precious beads have been around since before recorded history and before Christianity being used for ornament and trade. The bead was probably the first gemstone to be cut by man and polished using sand as an abrasive.
One source refers to Indian literature dated about 2300 B.C. which refers to manikyam. Because mani is a term to describe a sphere or bead it concludes that some form of gem cutting was practised that early.