Hello friends, I hope you all had a wonderful and restful weekend! The highlight of my weekend was the Bead Bonanza. This is a bi-annual event that gathers 50 or so bead dealers and you can absolutely geek out on anything and everything bead related. There are literally piles and piles of all kinds and colors of beads. If you are into beads and beadwork, this is definitely one event to attend.
Despite the profusion of beads, there aren’t a lot of stands carrying the older beads that I am perpetually looking for. This time around, I was happily surprised because there were a few stands with some vintage and even older beads. What was supposed to be a short visit (I told the family I would be there a maximum of one hour) turned into practically a whole day visit.
One stand caught my eye because of the many strands of coral and turquoise he was carrying. But he also had boxes full of vintage Afghanistan jewelry, some of which they had taken apart to sell as individual elements. These elements of traditional Afghan jewelry made mostly of silver and glass and a few with stones and corals, have a long and proud history and the antique versions of these jewelry sell easily for thousands of dollars. It got me thinking about how I could possibly incorporate them in my own work.
The next stand I visited is actually one of my favorite stands and is one that carries a lot of old jewelry and old beads. The beads and jewelry that I saw is now merely a fraction of what used to be a huge collection. It belonged to an avid collector of beads and jewelry and her collection spans a period of easily 40 years. She collected everything–from tribal jewelry from all over to antique stones to contemporary chevron beads from some of the best contemporary bead makers. She even collected some of the earliest editions of bead related journals! When it was complete it must have been breathtaking. As it is now, it is still pretty impressive and I felt fortunate enough to see what is left of it.
Here are a few examples of her bead strands: mostly Venetians from the 19th century mixed with a few Bohemian made beads..
It boggles my mind to imagine how much there must have been. Of course, I couldn’t resist the beads. The question was in fact more of how to restrain myself from blowing my entire budget on this one stand!
So friends, stay tuned, tomorrow I will share with you my finds from the Bead Bonanza!