Archive of ‘Beads’ category

Color palette of the week

| Beads, New pieces

Earlier this week it was very gloomy and dark. Now, I’m not a fan of dark and stormy so when I started work, I found myself gravitating towards some of my brighter beads. Something to beat away the gloom if you will. Of course once I started with this idea, I just kept going with it. Here’s what I’ve come up so far…

A simple necklace with a vibrant silver green foil bead with this deep flash of blue. This Bohemian bead dates back to the late 30s , early 40s. This piece is designed to stack happily with other necklaces already in your jewelry box. Or when you just want a hint of color.

For my next piece, I decided to make a bracelet. The bead I used here is deceptively simple looking. But look closely and there are swirls of aventurine hiding in its depths. This one is Venetian in origin and I’d say is early 1900s.

Making this bracelet, reminded me of another very special bead that I’ve had for awhile. An antique teeny tiny peacock eye glass bead from Venice. These beads get their name from their brilliant colors that resemble the plumage of a peacock. To make this bracelet even more special, I matched them with tiny antique coral beads.

Once I’d made the bracelets, I thought well, I might as well make some earrings to go with all these pieces. You can never go wrong with having a new pair or two.

This first pair is made with these really bright apple green Venetian silver foil beads from the 40s. They really are scrumptious looking!

And last but not the least is a really fun pair of dangling earrings made with vintage green and blue glass beads.

All these pieces will be coming soon in the eshop!! Drop me a line if you can’t wait!

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Settling into fall

| Beads, Jewelry, New pieces

After the long lazy days of summer, I’m slowly settling into fall. Slowly, but surely getting back to creating some new pieces for upcoming fall shows.

Recently, I’ve been very  drawn to this palette of black and gold. It feels very rich and decadent.  In my own wardrobe, I tend to different bright colors but  it is true that black goes with everything so…

I suppose it helps that while the beads I’ve been using are black, they still have that all important splash of color. These earrings for example, these dangly earrings feature a great pair of Venetian wedding cake beads that feature the adventuring swirl and the pretty pink flowers that are hallmarks of wedding cake beads. They feel festive and fun!

Or have a look at this other pair. This next one is a Venetian fancy trade bead dating back to the 1800s. Yes, you read that right– these are 19th century beads. And they’re in remarkably fine condition too which is rare for these kinds of beads. Usually, the decorative trailings are worn away from long usage.

 Both these earrings would go fantastically with this bracelet. This one features a black Moretti bead from the early 1900s with gold leaf.

Of course, the jewelry box wouldn’t be complete without a necklace. And this new one features early 1900s Venetian wedding cake beads and delicate pink satin glass from  Bohemia.

All these pieces will soon be available in the eshop!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A match to make your day

| Beads, Jewelry, New pieces

Hello friends, remember these earrings?


After I finished this pair I was left with two of these pink and silver foil beads. At first I thought I would make another pair of earrings but I wasn’t convinced by this idea. I want my jewelry to be unique and one of a kind so another pair just wouldn’t do.

So I put them away. Then  I remembered that somewhere in my bead box was a lonesome silver foil bead that was the only one left after I finished a necklace. Now this little orphan bead is a really pretty bead with lots of silver foiling that has remained intact over the years. Just like the pink and silver beads, this one dates back to the early 1950s. In no time, this necklace was born…


I love how these lonesome one-of beads suddenly found themselves together to make a beautiful new piece.

And look how well the necklace goes with the earrings!


The earrings are now listed in the shop and the necklace will soon be added!

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One necklace for different looks

| Beads, Fashion, Jewelry, New pieces

When I make something, I always try to imagine it slipping into my jewelry box and getting along with everthing else that’s there. I also like it when the piece goes with lots of different looks. After all, we work hard, do different things so we want our jewelry to be equally versatile. That’s why I’m so happy with this new necklace.


Today’s piece is a simple enough necklace composed of multicolored crystal rondelles.  These rondelles date back to the early 40s and have clearly lived other lives. They’ve been well loved as evidenced by the missing crystals in each rondelle. When I saw these in Paris, I knew immediately that I wanted to make something with them. Yes, they aren’t perfect but I couldn’t bear to just throw them away. As it turns out, it goes with a  number of different looks. So far, I’ve come up with three looks to give you ideas on how to wear this beauty. 

If you’re feeling casual, it’s the perfect accessory to jazz up a shirt. Throw it over a tee, or in this case, a turtleneck since it’s still cold, and you’re good to go.


It’s also great for layering. I love it with another long chain over a simple black shirt.


This last look may yet be my favorite. When you want color and layers, it’s totally possible with this piece.


How would you wear this necklace? 

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The long and short of it

| Beads, New pieces, Uncategorized

Two new necklaces up in the shop make the perfect pair for those times you can’t decide what to wear…


One is short and sparkly, with a vintage rondelle in an uncommon color while the other is composed of various colored vintage silver foil glass beads. 

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On wearing beads

| Beads, Fashion, Jewelry

During shows, I’ll sometimes get comments or question on how to wear beaded jewelry. Some people think it’s difficult to incorporate in daily wear. Some people think it’s too new-agey or too much of a throwback to the 70s. 

To this, I say, beaded jewelry can be as modern as any other accessory we have today. It can be worn singly, simply or in layers.  It’s all in how we want to wear it. 

For example, I like to wear bigger pieces under a collared shirt, for days when I want to have a more serious look but still have that special element. This one is an easy look to pull.  And I like to layer thinner necklaces around, but these are optional.
Other days, I like a more minimal look like this. Simple but sparkly.

I love that these antique beads have enough character and beauty to stand alone, worn simply on a chain but the best way I think, is when you can layer it with other pieces you already have in your jewelry box as I’ve done with this antique Georgian pendant.

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Bead photo of the day

| Beads

 

Happy Monday friends! It’s been awhile since I did a bead photo so I thought I’d share one today.

Today’s bead is a fairly new (dating back to the 90s)  bead by Luigi Cattelan, a contemporary bead artist and one of the best still making chevron beads. Speaking of Chevrons, I have very few Chevron beads though they are very collectible by bead afficionados. I’ve stayed away from them because there are notorious fakes of Venetian chevrons and it is all too easy to make a mistake with them. Maybe it’s silly, but I want every bead in my collection to be authentic and not copies. Even though it can be argued that these venetian beads are themselves copies of ancient Islamic beads.  Well, Chevrons are one of those beads that are copied left and right and worse passed off as antiques. But I digress.

As you may now know, I collect old beads but occasionally, I see new beads that are too pretty to pass up! Case in point this Cattelan bead. I love its bright colors set in a creamy matte base. I’m quite excited to add this to my bead box and can’t wait to create something with this bead!

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Bead photo of the day: a symphony in blue

| Beads

Today’s bead photo features all shades of blue. There are Venetian beads– trade beads, feather beads, fancy aventurrine striped beads, wedding cakes and a strand of Bohemian Russian blues. And the age of these beads range from the mid 1800s to the 1940s.

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For the bead geek in me

| Beads, Reading pleasures

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Usually the arrival of mail merits but a cursory attention but today I was so happy to see the postman arrive. You see, I’ve been waiting impatiently for the arrival of my complete set of Beads, the official journal of the Society of Bead Researchers. Yes, you read that right, it’s a journal about beads.
Now, beads are fascinating to different people for a number of reasons —they represent man’s impulse to create and to adorn oneself, they serve as anthropological and cultural markers of different times and places and well, because they’re pretty, just to cite some of the many reasons. Believe it or not, we learn so much about a particular society by studying their beads. For me, having these old beads is like holding a piece of tangible history in my hands. It fascinates me no end.

Anyway, the Society’s mission is to undertake and promote research on the many aspects of beads and bead making. Their journals represent the best of the research out there and it is constantly updated and enriched as more research is carried out.
I’m lucky to be able to acquire a complete set of their journals before they become out of print! I can’t wait to dive into them!

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Inspired by Valentine’s Day

| Beads, New pieces

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Happy Monday friends!! Hope your week is off to a lovely start. Valentine’s Day with its unabashedly romantic colors of pink and red inspired what I’m currently working on. Oh and the fact that I’m dreaming of spring!
I have these lovely vintage Venetian beads with the most luscious color combination of pink and green dots. I’ve been hoarding them (like a miser, I know) but I’m finally ready to show them off to the world. Anyway, I thought I’d experiment and make hoop earrings with them. I normally don’t make hoops but thought I’d give it a go with these beads.

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I’m a bit worried that they’ll be too big. So I have to take them out for a trial run once I finish with them.
What do you think, too big or just right?

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Bumble bee beads

| Beads, Throwback Thursday

 

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Today, I wanted to do a Throwback Thursday post featuring some very interesting beads.  These  beads have a very distinctive yellow and black stripes and I was actually buying another set of beads when I spotted them.  They reminded me so much of bees and in fact, these Venetian beads called bumble bee trade beads.  They are glass wound beads and were made between the latter half of  the 1800s to the first years of the 1900s.  With these beads, I wanted to make something that would really show them off.  The first obvious choice was black but when I paired them with my black beads, it seemed to dim the cheerfulness of the bumble bees.   But as it so happened, I had a bagful of vintage French yellow glass beads that I had previously bought and it turned out to be the right combination!   I bought these yellow glass beads from someone whose husband used to work in a bead and button shop in the early 30s in Paris. And when he died, he had a good number of buttons and beads left over from when  he was working and his widow was selling them off little by little. I was quite happy to buy the yellow ones from her!

At the next show I did, the necklace attracted a good number of admirers and finally it was purchased by a lady who owned her own jewelry store!  She was quite taken by it, calling it a unique looking piece and she loved the fact that the beads were quite old.  She told me that she rarely bought jewelry anymore since she sees so much of it in her own store. And I was pleased beyond belief that she found something she loved in my booth!

 

 

 

 

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Finding inspiration on a snow day

| Beads, Work in progress

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Hello friends, how is the start of your week? Today’s a snow day thanks to the over 16.5 inches of snow that fell over the course of Sunday! It was quite an impressive sight that greeted us when we attempted to go out. That said, it’s quite pretty out with clear blue skies and sun sparkling off the fresh snow. Of course it’s bitterly cold. So what better way to spend the day than going through my bead box and starting a pretty piece.
I’m drawing inspiration from all the sparkly snow so I took out some vintage French glass pearls and started dressing them up with pretty silver and gold bead caps. I love glass pearls. They’re always so versatile and never go out of style. These pearls are part of this big lot that I bought in Paris a few years ago now. At that time, I had no idea what I was going to do with all of them but I have used most of them already. Can’t wait to show you the finished piece!
In the meantime, here’s what we woke up to this morning…

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Late at night

| Beads, New pieces

Hello friends, due to some special circumstances on the home front, I haven’t been as active here as I would like.  Things are slowly (ever so slowly!) getting back to normal so I hope to be able to post more in the coming days!

To make up in small way for the silence, here is a recent piece I made featuring an uncommon tabular striped Venetian trade bead.  I paired it with a vintage gold filled watch strap which was another lucky find for me.

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I love how these two separate and distinctive elements work so well together!..Here’s another look at it…

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Work in progress

| Beads

Hello friends, thought I’d do a quick post to share with you all what I’m currently working on. Some vintage pretty Japanese millefiori beads are on my work desk in this lovely burgundy color that I adore.  Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

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Adding to the bead box

| Beads

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Hello friends, today I thought I’d show you a couple of new additions to my bead box. I lucked out and found some beautiful specimens.  The beauty of Venetian trade beads is the wide variety of patterns and colors that were made for the trade.  Sometimes this variety makes it difficult to find matching pairs though those that are similar make harmonious enough pairs.  I’m quite happy with this group as it includes some uncommon and unusual beads, all of them dating back to the latter part of the 19th century to the early years of the 20th –two aventurine decorated trailed beads, a yellow striped tabular bead,  an elbow shaped red Chevron bead (a rare buy for me because I am not as familiar with these kinds of beads as I am with the others and there is unfortunately, a great proliferation of fake Chevrons!), a gorgeous millefiori with a gorgeous palette of canes and two pink eye beads. The last two beads with the stripes in the middle was a gift from the seller.
IMG_6979.JPGI think the bead pictured above might be my favorite among this bunch.  It would make for a wonderful pendant!

Before ending this post, I want to share a recent article I came across about Glass Making in Murano. Its quite an interesting read and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

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Recent finds

| Beads, Vintage finds

IMG_6793.JPGHello friends, as promised from the last post, I wanted to share with you my finds from the Bead Bonanza.  There were a ton of beads but I wanted to focus just on the few stands selling old or vintage beads.  The first beads I found were a pair of silver enameled beads dating approximately back to the late 60s.  I loved their swirly pattern and the way they catch the light and how the pattern on each wasn’t identical. I can perfectly imagine turning these beads into earrings.

The next find came unexpectedly from a big bead store selling a huge selection of new beads. I was extremely tempted by all the beautiful Czech glass beads as well as Swarovski but alas, I had to pass on those beauties. Sometimes I have a hard time turning away from all the new glass beads because they are beautiful and perhaps I will incorporate them one day in my work, but for now, I’ve decided to work exclusively with old or vintage beads.  I was about to leave when I caught sight of a small tray filled with what looked like various charms and findings.  It was here that I struck gold because this was the vintage tray selection! I found a beautiful pendant, two pearl beaded beads and this steel cut buckle in this tray. The pendant and beads date back to the 50s and the buckle could be older and was made in France. I can’t wait to get to work on these!

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Just before leaving the booth, I spotted some of the chains they had for sale. One chain in particular caught my eye–a chain made of red evil eye charms.  Now, there’s nothing vintage about this chain and it isn’t even the traditional blue color of the talisman but I think its really pretty.  I bought some to experiment with though I can already tell that whatever I make with this chain will not be for sale.

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And finally we come to my most favorite purchase of the afternoon. One of the stands was selling a lifetime’s worth of beads and jewelry and one of the pieces for sale was this necklace with a fish tail pendant.  The seller didn’t have much much information about the necklace, other than the fact that it comes from Nagaland and we spent a good ten minutes trying to google some information about it.  Something about this necklace fascinates me no end.  I think it might be the unexpected combination of glass beads in such bright colors with a fish tail!  As soon as I got home, I dug out all my books on Southeast Asian jewelry but so far, I haven’t found any anything resembling my necklace. I’m intrigued enough by this necklace that I ordered a few books on the Naga culture from the library. I can’t wait to find out more about it. In the meantime, I have to find an outfit that goes with it!

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On my work desk

| Beads, New pieces

IMG_6443.JPGHello friends, today I though I’d share with you the beginnings of a new piece.  I know its not quite the end of summer but somehow I feel the start of fall. Maybe its all the back to school announcements or the leaves that have started to drift down to our garden, whatever it is, I found myself gravitating towards these dark blue vintage beads. They would make for a lovely piece to wear during the progressively colder months.  Can’t wait to show you how it turns out!

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Pineapple beads (or more beads from the bead box)

| Beads

IMG_6189.JPGI know that in Monday’s post, I said that wedding cake beads are one of my favorite beads but its really hard to actually choose just one favorite. I think it’ll be like asking which of your kids you prefer.  So today, I’m featuring another bead that I’m pretty obsessed with. The pineapple bead, specifically the pink pineapple.

Isn’t that the funniest name for a bead? I think the name must have come about because of the cross-hatch of lines running throughout the bead as well as the many eyes that decorate it.   It does do a good job of describing this bead. Now, my hands down preferred pineapple is of course the pink version. An antique dealer once told me that the early Venetian bead makers, skilled as they were in making beads, couldn’t make bright pink colored beads.  This was just something they couldn’t do because at that time, synthetic dyes were unavailable and they had to make do with what was found in nature or that they could produce from natural substances.  As such, all their pink colored beads were of the lighter hue. Any bright neon colored fuschia colored beads were of much much later production when synthetic chemicals were introduced.

Thus, the pink pineapples are thus one of the older beads in the Venetian catalog of beads.  These ones that I have probably date back to the mid to late 1800s.  They are increasingly more difficult to find and I lucked out because a collector consented to sell me some beads from her collection.  I think I’m going to just enjoy them for a bit before trying to do anything with them.

Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing these particular favorites of mine!

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Wedding cake beads

| Beads

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Hello friends, I hope your week is off to a rousing start! I like to start the week by wearing something red. Someone once told me that it gives the wearer a boost of energy and that has stuck with me ever since.  I’ve chosen to interpret this as including red colored beads. Fortunately for me, wedding cake beads, one of my favorite kind of bead, comes in different shades of red! And so I thought I’d share with you what I have in my bead box.

The first set (pictured above) have the distinctive floral trailings of a Venetian wedding cake bead.  They date back to the very early years of the 1900s.  And I’m fortunate to have found in very good condition though I wasn’t able to buy the entire strand.  The seller had already sold half the strand by the time I came along. Most of the trailings are still intact and there is hardly any decoration loss. There is a pair of earrings in the shop right now with these beads.

The second set of red wedding cake beads is a strand I acquired during my last trip in Paris.  These too have the distinctive floral design but in addition they have the white squiggly lines running across the beads. Sometimes, collectors refer to this kind of bead as latticino beads.  Latticino is an old Italian technique of decorating the glass with colored glass canes.  These beads date back to the 20s/30s.   I was fortunate enough to have found a long strand of these beads but they do need to be re-strung.  I think I’m keeping these beads.

IMG_6191.JPGHere are the two strands together. And if you have sharp eyes, you’ll see two beads that don’t belong to either strand..

IMG_6194.JPGDid you spot them? These are the red wedding cake beads from the 1940s which  I bought from a reputable dealer of antique beads from Venice.  They are slightly smaller and are a bit more uniform in size than the older two examples I have.  I decided to make a sautoir style necklace with them and the two you see with the rest are all that’s left from the lot.  This necklace is available in the shop!

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Bead photo of the day

| Beads

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Today I wanted to share one of the recent additions to my bead box. It’s a rare Venetian white fancy floral bead that dates back to the late 1800s. It has lost some of it’s trailings but it’s overall condition is still good considering it’s age. I’m very happy to add this to my collection as finding them is starting to be difficult not to mention expensive.
Now my dilemma is what to make with it. Any ideas?

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Monday’s desk

| Beads, Vintage finds

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Hello friends, how is the start of your week? I too, am back at my work desk, sorting out beads and things to make lovely new pieces. Today, I thought I’d show you what I have lined up .  First up are these vintage charms that I think would make lovely focal pieces. The big cross is composed of lovely green glass and dates back to the 40s while the guilloche pendant is actually a small perfume dispenser from the late 30s. Aren’t they pretty?   The enamel pair is a bit of a mystery. I haven’t quite figured out where it was made though it has a vaguely Asian air to it.  I was quite attracted to it because of its lovely vibrant color. I’m thinking of making some simple earrings with them.

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My week wouldn’t be complete of course without some beads! This group of four big beads are all from Murano, Italy and features their distinctive gold foil work.  They date back to the 60s.   Now I love gold foil beads but there’s something quite special about the  black and white striped bead.  This one is definitely a pendant don’t you think? 20140728-105306-39186922.jpgAnd finally, some pretty pink beads that are going to be all dressed up with some gold bead caps. Perhaps there will be earrings from this group or a pendant. The possibilities are endless…

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New additions to the jewelry box

| Beads, New pieces

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Happy Monday friends!! As I’ve been quite focused on necklaces lately, this past week I decided to work on some other pieces.

I love earrings and its high time I made a new pair.  I decided to stick  to my  palette of pink and gold and this pair features pink gold foil glass beads from the 50s and small pink pate de verre glass beads.  When worn, they dangle quite cheerfully and are perfect for jazzing up summery outfits!

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Then I turned my hand to making some new bracelets.  For the first bracelet (pictured above), I had this lovely pink red glass foil bead that’s been bouncing about in my bead box for some time now.  This bead dates back to the 50s and I wanted to make it into a focal bead but I couldn’t quite make it work as a necklace. Then I realized that it works perfectly as a focal bead for a bracelet.  I dug out the few remaining links I had of this delicate filigreed chain from the 40s and everything came together.

20140721-100546-36346432.jpgFor today’s last piece, I wanted a bit of a different look so I paired this vintage long blush colored bead with some gold and white rondelle beads and presto..a simple but interesting bracelet!

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Throwback Thursday: a circlet of green

| Beads, Throwback Thursday

20140710-104525-38725460.jpgHello friends, for today’s Throwback Thursday, I wanted to share with you a necklace I made with one of my earliest bead finds.

A few years ago, before I even had the idea of selling jewelry, I accompanied a friend to a closing out sale. My friend had heard of someone who was closing her business and needed to liquidate her inventory and materials. The artist was quite creative and her creations ranged from bags to textile art and jewelry.  Her atelier was filled to the brim with feathers, uncut leather, tools, sequins and other odds and ends.  I was quite curious as to why she was closing and she told me that despite her love of her craft, it was hard to make a living out of it.  She said that most people didn’t appreciate the efforts that went into her creations and that after years of struggling, she was ready to give it up.  The sale of the things she used to create would help her start afresh.

I certainly wanted to help her but I didn’t really see anything I could use. I decided to go one last time around the atelier and then I spotted some jars sitting high up on one of shelves.  There were two jars filled with buttons and another half filled with beads.   From the various beads stashed in the box was a strand of these green beads.  My eye was caught by the vibrant color and pattern of these beads. She explained that they had been in her family for a long time and that they had come from Africa.  She’d always wanted to do something with them, but for one reason or another, never managed to.  I figured it wasn’t part of the sale so I put it back. But to my surprise, she said she was willing to sell it. She said, it was time for them to be with someone else. Someone else who could make something with them, rather than sitting in the dark, collecting dust.

I happily took them home, that thought ringing in my mind and as I learned more about beads, I learned that these were Venetian Millefiori trade beads.  They had been around a long long time.  They were part of the massive trade of beads that made their way from Venice to Africa in the 19th century.  These particular ones were probably made in the latter half of the 19th century.  These beads were in gorgeous condition; no chips or cracks to mar their surface.  I made a very straightforward necklace with them, the weight of its history carried in the simplest of forms.

 

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Blue and gold

| Beads, New pieces

20140702-123020-45020342.jpgFor today’s post, I thought I’d share a new piece I just finished.  This piece started out with the decorated gold focal bead that I made awhile back.  I loved how decorative it looked but wasn’t convinced that making an all gold necklace would be the way to go.20140702-123021-45021299.jpgLuckily, I later on acquired a deep, almost royal blue, set of French glass beads.  These beads are from the late 50s and while pairing them off with different colored beads, I realized that gold would play wonderfully against the deepness of its blue.  And that is how this necklace was born!20140702-123022-45022234.jpg

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Some recent finds

| All things Antique, Beads

 

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Hello friends, lat week I talked about my recent visit to the Puces de Vanves.  Today, I want to share my finds from that visit.   There were so many tempting things for sale but I decided to focus on things that I could use for work.  It is after all the main reason why I was at the Puces.  I think I was quite fortunate this time.  I barely arrived when I found my first piece (pictured above).  The seller had bought out someone’s metal stamping business and this piece was one of the last from that lot.  While the design of this lady looks like it is from the early years of the 1900s, this piece was actually made in the 1960s.  It is not that old but I love the design. And it even has the original tag from the business.

Another piece that I acquired dates back to almost the same period.  This forget me not pendant made of little glass beads resembling turquoise and cut steel dates back to the early years of the 20th century.  The necklace it probably came with is gone but I am happy to have this gorgeous statement piece.

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A bit of walking brought me to my next find.  A pair of gorgeous French made pendants from a much earlier period.   The piece on the right dates back to the period of 1890 while the other pendant is dates back to the beginning of the 1900s.  Both were fashioned by hand and the enamel work is in very fine condition.  I’m very excited by these two and I can’t wait to work on them.

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The next set of pieces are quite interesting too.  These were made in the 1890s and they were designed to be either lockets or as ornaments for men’s watches.  As these  particular pieces weren’t lockets, they were most likely  used for men’s watches. In those days, men used pocket watches and at one end of the chain, there used to hang decorative little pendants such as these.  Most of these pendants were made out of a mixture of brass and copper hence their rosy color. This particular mix was first authorized for use in jewelry by King Louis XVI in 1785. Previously, it was forbidden by the king.    I think they would make for great pendants!

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And my next find also dates back to the same time frame.  This tiny enameled piece used to belong to a bracelet but all the other pieces are now lost.  I don’t quite know what to do with it yet, but I just couldn’t resist it.  The enamel work on the piece is still intact and I love the little flower design.  20140630-091534-33334937.jpg

Finally, just as I was about to head home, I found some gorgeous beads. Finding these beads just about completed my day.  These are early Venetians from the beginning of the 1900s.  Its been awhile since I found some gorgeous beads in an antique market so I just had to have them!

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I’m quite happy to be back at my desk working away with these gorgeous new pieces!

 

 

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Slow going

| Beads, My thoughts on

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Hello friends, does it ever happen to you that you’ll have a project and it’ll somehow take over your life? That’s what’s happened to me with this bead embroidery project I’m working on. I’ve somehow become obsessed with it to the detriment of other things I’m supposed to be doing (like this poor neglected blog) It doesn’t seem like much progress from the last time but this has taken me so long to do. The beads I’m using are so tiny that I’m going at a snails pace. And I want to get to a point where I can see more of what it’s going to look like but I’m not quite there yet. Oh well, I can’t really give up now right?!

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Throwback Thursday

| Beads, Throwback Thursday

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More often than not, I find my beads in antique fairs or in shows with antique dealers. But sometimes I’ll find them in unexpected places. Take this pair of earrings made with Czech glass beads from the 40s. They are quite special because of the degradé effect of the colors. It starts out white and graduates to pink to a dark violet. It’s very hard to do this kind of bead and hardly anyone ( if any at this point in time) does it anymore. Where I found them is a story in itself.
We were vacationing in a small seaside town in Southern Spain and beads were the last thing on my mind. Of course I had to ask if there was a local market around and I was told of a small local one. The appointed day arrived and I set out. It was a rather smallish affair with a cluster of stalls and many more vendors with blankets spread out on the ground. It takes a certain kind of dedication (Perhaps it’s more accurate to say it was a sort if madness) to go through about 50 stalls under 90 degree weather. And for all my dusty efforts, there was hardly anything to interest me. Luckily towards the end of the market I saw someone selling beads and kits to make jewelry. Unfortunately he only had new beads, most of which were plastic ones. I was about to give up and leave when he said that his wife perhaps had some old beads still in her collection. I didn’t waste any time arranging a meeting with his wife at local town square the day after and that is how I acquired these beads!
Now these beads are in the possession of a lovely and dear friend, the next step in their long adventure.

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Throwback Thursday and something new

| Beads, Throwback Thursday

DSCN3640Its late but since its still technically Thursday, I thought I’d go ahead and do a throwback post. I wanted to feature this necklace which was a particular favorite of mine.  I found these beads (along with a group of others that I have to post soon) the last time I was at the Antiquities Brocante at Bastille in Paris.  Loved ones of mine know how much I adore that particular brocante.  I would literally go everyday and look at every single stall. I went so often that sellers started to recognize me! (Ah, those were the days! ) Funnily enough, I didn’t always find old beads there. Lots of other curios and antiques but not the old glass beads.

That last time, I wasn’t particularly looking for beads. Plus it was the last day of the fair so people were in a going home mood.  Well, one seller probably in an effort to get everything out, laid out, casually, almost cavalierly, a handful of old beads just as I was passing by.  You can just imagine how my heart jumped!! I started looking at them and as is my habit, asked if she had more. To my great surprise, she pulled out a boxful of them!!! They were a glorious mix of different colors and shapes. Some of them were still attached to the mandrel (the rod to which glass is attached when being made).  It was an amazing find and I snapped it up. I even managed to get a bit of a deal since she was just about ready to pack up and leave.

Now, here’s the other funny thing about these beads. For the longest time, I thought they were Czech glass beads.  They are very very similar in look.  But it turns out they are French glass beads according to some research I came across recently.  Aside from the Bapterrosses factory in Briare, French production was not as extensive as the Venetians or the Czechs but there was a small cottage industry of lampworkers who produced beads that bear a striking resemblance to those more popular beads. Most of these lamp work beads were produced in the 50s.  So the beads on this necklace are French lamp work beads from the 50s.

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Sneak peek

| Beads, New pieces

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I’m definitely into the pink palette as I continue to work on the new collection. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s on my work table today.  These are pretty pink French pate de verre beads from the 50s.

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Pretty in pink

| Beads, Jewelry, New pieces

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This morning we are blessed with sunny blue skies! Hooray for spring! I looked over my new selection of jewelry and it seems that my palette is dominated by pretty pinks and lavender. I suppose its my way of thinking myself into spring?

This morning’s selection is mostly earrings and two bracelets.  The first bracelet (pictured above) features vintage French beads from the 50s decorated with gold tone caps. I love this combination of pink and gold, its rich without being brassy.  I especially love the two carved beads, they’re a lovely shade of pink that recalls rose quartz.

I had a hard time capturing the lavender pink shade of these earrings.  Its almost opaque and because it is quite simple in style, goes with a lot of things.  These are Czech glass beads from the 50s as well.

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I think it goes quite beautifully with this next bracelet.  This one features vintage violet Czech beads but what makes it stand out are the little crown beads interspersed between each bead. These are French beads from the late 30s and were used to decorate women’s clothes.  They’re quite rare now and I was pleased to have found some.

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If I were forced to choose my favorite piece of jewelry, I’d have to pick earrings. I almost never leave home without a pair. Whenever I’m not feeling particularly creative, I find that making a pair of earrings will bring me back on track.

This pair of silver pink earrings are vintage foil glass beads from France and they date back to the 50s.  These beads are interesting because one can see through the base of the bead itself.  This makes me wonder about the person who made this bead.  Was this deliberate or was it accidentally made like this and left as is?

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And finally the last but not the least, a fun pair of pink crystal drop earrings.  You put this one on and you are good to go!20140331-113536.jpg

 

 

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Bead photo of the day

| Beads

Today’s post features a seriously gorgeous Millefiori trade bead from the late 1800s. This one has a rare cobalt blue base and white and yellow canes that really look like flowers. I was lucky enough to obtain this beautiful bead from the collection of Ms. Elizabeth Rieth who collected beads for over 30 years. I’m sure it’ll make a gorgeous piece of jewelry but for now I’m content to marvel at its prettiness!

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