Beads & other materials
Throughout the ages, jewelry has been designed in a wide variety of beautiful and alluring materials. Texture, as well as color and style, has typically played an important role.
Natural fibers and cloth have been used in jewelry throughout history. Stones and beads of all sorts, leather, shell, feather, wood, even seeds and berries.
Dating back to ancient China, exquisite lacquer jewelry can now be found in many regions of the world, especially Asia, India, and Europe.
Dried flower jewelry
Fresh and dried flowers may have been among the first ornaments to grace the human body. Today, exquisite dried flower jewelry is available, some of the finest designs handmade in Thailand.
Beads are believed to be the most ancient of personal adornments. A recent (2004) archeological discovery of beads - 41 tiny, perforated mollusk shells found in a cave in South Africa - may prove that humans began adorning themselves as far back as 75,000 years ago (30,000 years earlier than previously believed).
In many regions of the world, beads have been used as monetary instruments. Christopher Columbus brought beads to the New World as gifts, and to facilitate trade. In some cultures, certain beads are believed to carry magic, protective powers.
In parts of Asia, especially Indonesia, nearly colorless bamboo, stone, wood, and horn beads are favored, often decorated with bright colors. Many native North and South Americans use extensive beadwork in belts, bracelets, and clothes.
Since the 10th Century, glass beads have been popular in areas of Russia, lavishly embroidered onto everything from furniture to purses.
Today, bead enthusiasts enjoy a vast array of bead materials to choose from. Click on the following links to view samples of currently popular bead styles:
Precious metal beads
Rough gem beads