Posts Tagged ‘Antique beads’

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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Something pretty and sparkly

| New pieces


Hello friends, today I thought I’d share my first attempt to capture one of my pieces in action! The first I hope of many more videos to come.

This is a pair of gorgeous gold foil spiral shaped Venetian beads dating back to the early years of the 1900s. It’s designed to add sparkle to whatever you decide to wear! 

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Flashback Friday

| Jewelry

A favorite client recently set a photo of herself wearing her latest acquisition chez nous and I’m really happy to see it amongst other pieces of her jewelry box. Its exactly what I strive for, jewelry that blends seamlessly with what you already have.

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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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Back in the saddle

| New pieces, Vintage finds

Hello friends,  as you may have noticed, it’s been very quiet here in the blog and store front. Sometimes life takes over and work takes a backseat. However, I’m very happy to announce that I’m back!  All the charms, findings and beads that have been sitting quietly on my desk, bidding their time, will finally have their chance to shine as new pieces.

What better start than this new necklace?

The star of this necklace is quite simply the French made enamel pendant that I found last year in Paris. It dates to the 1850s and has a very pretty design of blue and pink flowers.
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As it is pretty enough to hang on its own, I left it like that for the longest time till I found these pretty Venetian beads with a strikingly similar color scheme. Even the design of the beads match the pendant.  Coincidentally, the beads date back to the early 1900s as well. The beads and pendant seemed like a match made in heaven!

Going forward there will be a lot more new pieces coming. And I hope to unveil soon, a new and exciting line of pieces that I’ve never done yet! Stay tuned!

 

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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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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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No two alike

| New pieces

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Hello friends, how is the start of your week so far?  Today, I had a couple of things I wanted to finish on my work desk and ended up with two completely different necklaces.  The first necklace (pictured above) features a group of 19th century trade beads in the distinctive red brick Venetian color.  I’ve had these beads awhile but for the longest time couldn’t figure out what to do with them.  I was stuck with the idea that they should somehow match, which was why I couldn’t do anything with them. Finally, I thought that I didn’t need them to match exactly, the fact that they were all the same color with different canes and patterns was enough to make a harmonious looking necklace. Once I got over the block, it was easy to finish this piece.

IMG_7182.JPG The second piece is completely different. It doesn’t feature any trade beads at all, instead, it features this pretty and delicate little charm which dates back from Paris in the 50s. It is a tiny charm but the colored glass which decorates the flowers are in impeccable condition.  It is such a feminine looking charm so I thought a simple chain necklace accented with some vintage glass beads would be the perfect way to showcase it.

Eh voila, two new pieces for the new week!

 

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Bead Bonanza

| Bead adventures

 

IMG_6767-0.JPG 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.

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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..

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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!

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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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A shorter length

| New pieces

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Hello friends, remember the piece from the last post? I wasn’t entirely sure about its length, so when it came to working on a second necklace, I decided to go for a shorter length.  It still features one of my antique pendants but this time, it features a few carved orange glass beads from the 50s.

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Now that I’ve made the two, I realize that they’re quite lovely paired up together. Don’t you just love them?

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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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The great bead adventure, part 2

| Bead adventures, Travels

Hello friends, I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  I thought I’d start the week off with the second part of my great bead adventure!  This time, I wanted to tell you all about my favorite part of the trip–the collectible beads!

Before setting out for Tucson,  a friend told me to set a budget and to stick to it.
When I saw the collectible beads, I realized what wise counsel that was and how utterly impossible to follow. There were beads there that I’ve only ever seen in books or museums! There were strands of the rare and beautiful, the old and uncommon to the more ordinary beads. Mixed in with all the collectibles were the newly made beads and there were heaps of those. I quickly learned that the most special strands were kept in glass boxes. These were the strands that cost a small fortune. Some dealers kept what they called “pocket pieces” or loose beads sold separately and these ranged in price to 10$ a bead to 140 a bead. And I’m not even talking about the ancient stone beads!

It was really cool to see so many different varieties and to be able to hold them and see up close all the ways they are different from each other. And I realized that this is  the best way to learn how to tell whether a bead is really old or merely a reproduction. Because there such a demand for collectible beads, there are some unscrupulous people who would take advantage and pass off reproductions as old. Or there are some who simply don’t know what they’re selling. So this was an invaluable learning experience for me.

Here are a few photos of the more memorable strands and beads.  I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them!!

This first strand that caught my eye was also one of the most expensive ones at 4000 dollars. It has a several 6 layer Chevron beads, a huge German marble bead, rare Prosser chevron beads, a few  older barrel trade beads.

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One strand we looked at had a broken bead with writing on it.. the entire set consisted of three beads with the writing J Walker Co. Very rare to see one of them and the rest of the tabular beads were pretty too..

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This is a collection of unusual Millefioris including 2 stands of Moretti beads… price range of these beads from 500 to 1200+ dolla

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The pink strand was one of my absolute favorites–pink feather beads, pink eye beads and the pineapples.  I’ve never seen the blue and white with aventurine stripes in the second strand pictured here. 1400 for each of these strands.   20140221-150556.jpg

A collection of loose Millefiori beads in the rare football shape..price range 100-200 dollars per bead20140221-150740.jpg

Another collection of pocket beads..the beads pictured here are older, early 19th century or even earlier for some of the folded beads.20140221-150811.jpg

A beautiful collection of Viking era beads, the real deal as opposed to the Indonesian made replicas.

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And last but not the least,  several strands of etched ancient carnelians, price range 3000 to 7000 dollars a strand..  Very special treat to see these authentic strands as there are so many reproductions available today.DSCN4214

 

Now you see my this was my favorite part of the whole trip!

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