Thursday, May 19, 2011

Beads History and types

I find the history of beads a fascinating subject because of their meaning in history then and today. Several finds and researches show that the earliest beads date back as far as 100,000 years.
The earliest known beads were made from shells, animal teeth, animal claws and seeds. Later beads were made from clay and glass. Jewelry has always been
an integral form of expression, wealth and social status. 100,000 years ago and in a sense still today. The methods and materials of beading and jewelry making have evolved over the years, however some of the styles and principles of fashionable jewelry remained the same. The function of jewelry has also changed over time from a form of currency to a fashion accessory and form of artistic expression. This trend continues to grow as precious metals and gemstones are no longer utilized as signs of wealth and social status. Because of improvements in technology the resources for jewelry making have become very affordable which is one of the factors that contributed to a focus on design, creativity and artistic expression over symbolism and social status.

 Several years ago something happened on the red carpets of Hollywood. The stars were increasingly wearing Bridge Jewelry also known as Artisan Jewelry and not diamonds. Bridge Jewelry by definition bridges the gap between inexpensive fashion and the very expensive fine jewelry. If one window shops at most fine jewelry stores today, one will find among the fine pieces some semi- precious and fine glass jewelry. Most jewelers do that to lock the customer into the store, and others have long realized that this is what the customer wants. I suppose many people moved away from the classical designs of fine and very expensive jewelry with lots of gold and diamonds etc. seeking more affordable, colorful and whimsical adornments to express themselves.

Well, I guess that is not so bad for us, the crazy people who love those shiny beads...:)

There are many different kinds of beads out there. I would categorize them as follows:
  • Natural and gemstone beads
  • Glass beads
  • Acrylic beads
  • Metal beads
some cultured pearls and gemstone beads from my stash that I photographed extra for you. If you are so crazy like I am about beads, you will be forced to store them like this:
On the top of the picture you see containers meant for screws from the local hardware store. I buy many beads bulk, so I place smaller amounts in the organizers and the rest in a bigger container. This way I can keep my working space relativly tidy. Ok, I lied. My craft room is always very messy!
Those containers are great for your findings etc. Also meant for screws from the hardware store
under the table in my craft room...

one of the cormners of the room. PS. I cleaned up 2 days ago and now it is a mess again!

 In the next posts I will show you some of the types of my favorite beads and later as promised I will talk about principles of color and design.

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