Posts Tagged ‘trade beads’

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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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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Throwback Thursday

| Throwback Thursday

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For this Throwback Thursday post, I wanted to share one of my first trade bead bracelets. I particularly love the beads on this bracelet because of its distinctive and pretty star pattern. To complete the bracelet, I paired the trade beads with some vintage French glass beads. This piece sold at the first international show I ever did in Switzerland to a lovely American lady who just happened to be visiting the region. Funny to think how much the beads have travelled — from Italy to Africa when they were first made, to other hands till they reached mine in Paris to finally the U.S. where I hope they are still making their owner happy!

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A selection of new jewelry

| Jewelry, New pieces

Hello friends, it may not look it (as I write, its snowing yet again!) but spring is upon us! What better time than now to refresh our jewelry wardrobe?  With that in mind, I’d like to share some new pieces that’s sure to brighten up your spring wardrobe!

This first one is in a cool palette of sky blue and pale pink.  The focal bead is very special. It’s a big Murano bead with hand painted gold, pink and white trailings. It dates back to the 60s.  This necklace is a long sautoir style one and comes with a matching pair of earrings.

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This second necklace features two beautiful elbow shaped  Venetian trade beads from the late 1800s.  Elbow shaped beads are difficult to find in good condition and these two are in near mint condition.  It features a red and yellow checkerboard pattern and to break it up a little, I decided to put a big vintage red and gold French pate de verre focal bead.  This necklace sits higher up on the neck so its perfect for those button down shirts.

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If you prefer to add a bit of whimsy to your wardrobe , then this next one is just the thing to wear. It features a delightful vintage dragonfly charm from the 40s and vintage green and brown glass beads from the 50s.

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And for all those upcoming weddings and parties, here is my version of the festoon style necklace.  It features a gorgeous filigree charm from the 40s and the little dangling glass pearls are from the late 40s as well.    DSCN4257

Did you notice that two of these necklaces have matching earrings? I quite like making matched sets when I can!

 

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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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Starting the year on the right foot

| New pieces

Hello friends, I hope your first of the year is a beautiful one! I recently acquired some gorgeous and rare beads and I thought what better way to start the year than to create something beautiful with them.
These beads are called pineapple beads after their distinctive pattern and they were made between the mid to late 1800s for the African trade. They are quite difficult to come by and I am very fortunate to add these to my collection.

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My first trade beads

| Jewelry, Throwback Thursday

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Many years ago, I had the chance to visit the Fabled Rice Terraces in the Northern Highlands of the Philippines. This is a beautiful region of the country, filled with majestic views of the mountains and of course, the terraces which were carved entirely by hand by the Ifugao people 2000 years ago. It’s a breathtaking place and I have beautiful memories of our trip there. I also have fond memories of the kindness of the people there. They do beautiful bead work and colorful textiles but what really caught my attention was the jewelry they wore. They had beautiful glass bead necklaces. Now mind you, this was way way before I had an interest in beads, much less the idea of creating jewelry. Jewelry has always been an abiding interest and they had some pretty special ones. One spectacular piece worn by a village elder had glass beads with real gold embedded inside. There must have been at least 10 beads in the necklace and because it was an old piece, it had the most beautiful patina. Then they explained that their beaded jewelry were family heirlooms, passed from mother to daughter in each family. And that a lot of their beads were made in Itsaly and they acquired them from the Spanish Galleon trade! I was completely fascinated by the idea of these beads traveling on Spanish galleons and making their way to these mountains. Its literally a piece of history. When I asked if there was a necklace or 2 for sale, even the most simple one, they all shook their heads negatively.
Oh well, I thought to myself, I guess it’s not meant to be.
Then on our last day, one of the women, said she might know someone willing to sell me a necklace or two and whether I was still interested. How could I not be?
She then took me to another family’s house where the family matriarch asked me why I wanted their necklace. And I said that I liked them because they were a piece of history and that I would be honored to wear it. I still don’t know why that convinced her but she agreed to sell me what you now see here.
Fast forward to now, after hours and hours of reading and research and other purchases, I know now these beads to be white hearts and simple eye beads from Venice but they will always have a special place in my collection.

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Trade bead collection-all in red

| Etsy, New pieces

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Hello friends, I hope the weekend has been grand and you are all ready for another week! Do you ever wear red on Mondays?  I don’t know where I picked it up from but I always try to wear something red on Monday in the belief that its gives me a powerful boost of energy.  So what better way to wear red than with these new pieces from the Trade Bead Collection.

Trade bead is the name given to beads that were produced mostly in Venice but also in Czechoslovakia and Germany and  were subsequently used for trade in the African continent.  Venetian bead production started as early as the 17th (with some historians saying that it is possible it may have started in the 16th) but the exportation of beads was at its height in the 19th century. These beads were used as currency with different countries favoring one kind of bead design over the other.

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These beads were first packed in Europe in barrels or crates for the long journey by sea then subsequently  carried in camel caravans across the dusty deserts till they reached their final destination in the various African kingdoms.  Some beads even made their way even further, traveling across the Pacific before landing in Asia.DSCN3695

 

I love working with these beads.  They’ve travelled so far before coming into my hands. I  imagine what stories they would tell if they could just talk.  And I feel that its but another stop with me before they make their way once more into another person’s life.red with rondelles1

 

 

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These pieces are now available in the shop!

 

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