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It’s not often you can go shopping and not see beads which are claimed by the seller to be the “latest thing”. That’s probably just what people were thinking when they started making beads over 100,000 years ago! Recent findings have revealed that beads have been part of human life for that long, if not longer.

Recent examination of beads excavated in the early 1900′s from sites in Israel and Algeria have shown the beads to date from between 100,000 to 135,000 years ago, a finding which pushes the previous earliest known date of 75,000 years back quite some distance in human history. These finding are extremely elemental in building our view of our species history for many reasons, the most important being that it shows beyond doubt that humans were thinking symbolically much longer than previously supposed.

The first beads that we know of were shells. Perforations in shells are often from natural causes such as parasites, but humans still had to think of a means to string them together which shows their ability to use chords – and to tie knots or make clasps. Because these shells were found in areas that they would not occur naturally, we know that early people sought them purposely and possibly even traded for them. We also know that these early bead makers had a sense of self and an idea of self adornment, were thinking symbolically, and had an understanding of art.

These points and other factors about beads and bead making also reveal that human social units were much more complex at this time than previously realized as well. Beads throughout history have been used to show social association or class, as an indication of wealth or prestige, as gifts, for beautification, and for currency meaning that complex social units existed from the beginning of bead crafting. Bead materials, bead crafting, and finished product has been an important indication of intra-cultural crafting trade since the earliest of bead making cultures as beads of materials from far away lands were seemingly the most significant to a culture’s people and carried the most importance and prestige within a group.

As time went on more and harder materials began being used for bead making. These items included seeds, teeth, bone, eggshells and ivory. Holes were drilled using the method of rotation. By 40,000 years ago stone was being used for bead work. By 28,000 years ago beads had become quite elaborate masterpieces and true marvels of skill mastership.

As civilizations flourished, so did the art of bead making. Today we still value our beads, whether they are an expensive string of pearls or just a few colorful ceramic baubles. Examples of beads from around the world testify that in the vast history of humans, no civilization was, or is, complete without beads.

2010 Sally Taylor
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Author: Sally Taylor
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Craft beads have been used to create jewelry and other decorative pieces for hundreds of years. In ancient times, stone, turtle shells, animal horns and hooves, and fresh water clams were used to make decorations. Now, beads can be made from semi-precious stones, wood, glass, and plastic – just to name a few. The possibilities with craft beads are endless.

Craft bead projects range from beginner to advanced, complicated designs. You can purchase craft bead kits at your local craft store or online. If you already have a supply of craft beads, you can find free patterns and designs online. There are even kits and patterns available for children.

By far, the most popular use for craft beads is creating jewelry. They aren’t limited to use in jewelry, however. You can make holiday decorations, like beaded Christmas trees, or you can put beads on household items to give them a new flare. Another interesting project to try is to weave small beads together in intricate patterns to create stunning flowers.

Craft beads are made out of a variety of materials including glass, metal, terracotta, wood, plastic, stone, bone, horn, ivory, wood, ceramic, fiber, shell, pearl, coral, gemstones, seeds, resin, and clay. Beads can also be fashioned into many shapes including melon, oval, barrel, cylindrical, round, square, star, butterfly, heart, and flower.

When you consider the vast number of beads available, the possibilities are endless. The cost of individual beads will be determined by what they are made of, their use, and their age. You can even take beads from an old necklace or other piece of jewelry and craft them into a new piece that you will love.

You can create unique jewelry for yourself or create decorative gifts for loved ones. If you are going to create your own design, be sure that you have all the craft beads and other supplies you will need. You can do this by drawing out a detailed plan or diagram of the piece you want to create.

To complete a project, you will need craft beads, wire, wire cutters, and crimp beads. Crimp beads are soft metal and are used to complete a strand of beads. If you are creating jewelry, you will need the appropriate clasp also. If you would rather follow a pattern, there are books available at your local craft store, or you can find hundreds of free patterns online. Those instructions should give you a list of needed supplies.

You can purchase craft bead projects that are already completed at craft shows, stores, and online. The price of these items will depend on the type of beads used and the intricacy of the piece. You may also be able to find older beaded pieces or ethnic pieces. Native American, Mexican, and African bead craft are beautiful and unique.

Whether you are a beginner or an advance crafter, try doing some bead work. You will come to love using craft beads for their versatility and beauty. You will also love the jewelry and other decorative pieces you are able to create!

For more information on crafts, try visiting http://www.craftguidance.com – a website that specializes in providing craft related tips, advice and resources to include information on craft beads

Author: Candice Sabrina
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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African trade beads owe their unique creation to the need of traders plying the route between Africa and Europe and the affinity of Africans for beads of all types. European merchants created these trade beads to barter items of value from African people. Some of the items found in Africa that were particularly coveted by the Europeans include gold, ivory and palm oil amongst other region specific things.

The history of African trade beads can be traced back to the 15th century, when Portuguese traders reached West Africa and discovered that the people of Africa attached a lot of importance to beads made from a variety of items such as iron, gold, ivory, bone, organic things etc. Simultaneously, the European traders also discovered that the land was full of resources that Europe was in desperate need of.

Resultantly, the shrewd business minds of the traders decided to use beads made from glass as leverage to barter goods and raw materials with Africans. The material of glass was picked out primarily because the continent of Africa was still to discover glass working techniques, and its people were found to be in awe of the exquisite glass beads that the Europeans showed up with. An alternate name for these items is slave beads as they were used to barter slaves in addition to basic goods and services. These African slave beads were also known as aggry beads.

During those times, although the whole of Europe was rushing to produce them and siphon off the maximum amount of African resources, the leading producers were artisans from the city of Venice that is famous for its rare and unique glasswork even now. Other leading African trade beads producing centers of Europe include Bohemia and the Netherlands. The most popular type of African slave beads is the millefiore form that can be translated into the ‘thousand flower’.

In terms of the current day and age, African trade beads have become items that have a lot of value owing to their exotic nature and intriguing history. As per some historians, the African slave beads became popular in the western countries during the decade of 1960 which saw a lot of people from the US and Europe traveling to Africa and discovering the beauty and value of these African slave beads. Resultantly, jewelry made from African slave beads was transported back to the western world where it immediately captured the fancy of the majority of consumers.

Furthermore, it should be noted that there was no standard production of African trade beads and they were produced on the basis of particular demands instead. This has resulted in individual African trade beads items that draw their value from the fact that there is no other item like it. Therefore, the originality and the unique workmanship are the driving force behind jewelry made of these famous African beads becoming extremely coveted in the present day.

If you want more information about African jewelry then check out this great African Trade Beads website or another alternative is this African Trade Beads blog with plenty of advice.

Author: Conan Jason
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Today Pandora beads are well known and highly regarded as top selling and high quality jewelry. It is considered of high standard. It’s beautifully created and worked jewelry. The Pandora beads first originated in Copenhagen, Denmark, and then made their move out of Europe into the United States. Pandora beads jewelry is basically charm beads bracelets where you chose the charm beads on them.

The idea for Pandora Beads jewelry originated from Greek mythology. What they did is take the story of Pandora’s Box and took inspiration from it, hence the name. This is the story of Pandora’s Box:

Zeus was very upset at Prometheus for taking fire from the immortals and later giving it to the mortals. He wanted to punish him and the mortals for this so he thought up of a plan. He created Pandora, the first woman. She was given different features and gifts. Different Gods offered her different things. One gift that she was given was a necklace by Charites, the goddess of charm. She was also given a box which she wasn’t allowed to open.

However, one of the other gifts she was given was curiosity. She couldn’t resist the urge, and eventually opened the box. By opening the box she released all that is bad and evil in the world. The only thing still left in the box was hope and inspiration.

Pandora Beads Jewelry then took the idea of Pandora and her box, and what was left over. They took the hope and inspiration and created charm beads that are put together to create beautiful charm bead bracelets. What’s beautiful and interesting about Pandora Beads is that you can create completely original jewelry, whether for gift or for yourself.

Pandora has since gone a long way from the stories in Greek Mythology and Copenhagen, Denmark. Today Pandora’s beads and charm beads are a popular household name. They are perfect for any occasion and creating completely original and artistic gifts. Wonderfully inspired and recreated, the choices of different charm beads are endless and leave room for creativity. There are new and beautiful Pandora’s beads coming out every day, so there is something for everyone, it’s only a matter of knowing and looking for what you want. There is no doubt and question as to why Pandora beads are so popular, they have taken over the jewelry world by storm.

Aya Wilkinson is the the writers of aClickAhead, the only Corporate Gifts offering page one listings for the most popular keywords in your industry, you can benefit her experiences as a leading writer on Charm beads

Author: Aya Wilkinson
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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When you hear the word “beads,” do you immediately think of jewelry? Or do you think of Rosary beads or some other non-jewelry use of beads–beaded dresses, headbands, belts? Perhaps you think of a country and western outfit, a studded, head-to-toe piece of jewelry.

The first thought that enters your mind when you hear the word “beads” may date you and give away your age faster than physical attributes. If you’re a product of the 50′s, your mind may wander to pop beads, those plastic pull apart, pop together baubles that have risen in value from pennies to $20, $30 or more. If you’re a product of the 60′s, you may think of “love beads,” which complemented the long-haired, unkempt look, or your mind may wander to the long strands of beads that once adorned inside doorways in Haight Ashbury with sounds of The Mamas and the Papas blaring in the background. Thanks to television, it’s difficult to forget the beaded belts of the 70s.

From Ancient Trade to Modern Computer Applications

Beads predate the mid-20th century by eons. Remember the abacus? Of course, you can’t actually remember back 2000 years unless you possess powers unknown to this author, but you can remember learning about the abacus in school. In Europe, Venetian glass beads and German metal beads served as currency in trade as early as the 16th century. Beads also played a central role in Native American jewelry.

Bohemia (aptly named) was the center of the European bead trade from as far back as the Middle Ages. Through the twists and turns of history, bead making moved to Bavaria and now, has once again found its home in the Chezk Republic, in the Bohemia area, home of Swarovski Austrian crystals.

In 1990, Native American traditional beadwork intersected with computer sciences. Several college campuses introduced a pilot program in which beadwork shaped the foundation for courses AutoCad and other design program courses for Native American students. The popularity and applicability of these courses continues today.

Modern Beads

Now that we’ve strolled down memory lane and taken a quick look at vintage beads, beads no longer in production, where do beads fit into today’s jewelry scene? They’re everywhere you look from casual chokers and necklaces to fine Swarovski Austrian crystal designs.

Think beyond a single strand of beads. Start by thinking of a single strand of beads from which a pendant dangles. From there, think pins–yes, pins adorned with beads, beaded bracelets, barrettes, earrings, etc. In fact, think beyond jewelry to purses and other accessories. If you look closely at your surroundings, you’ll find beads everywhere.

The Many Faces of Beads

Another thing that you might rethink is the composition and shape of beads. Today’s beads come in a myriad of shapes and materials, with Austrian crystal topping the list. Today’s look du jour of transparent, translucent and iridescent beads don the bodies of the rich and famous along with everyday mortals. Venetian glass beads often encapsulate swirls within the beads for a unique, timeless quality.

The latest in fashion trends includes little beaded silk purses. While you wouldn’t want to cover yourself in head-to-toe beads unless you’re auditioning for a singing gig in Nashville, a silk beaded purse with a complementary beaded necklace turns an ordinary evening outfit into a walking work of art.

Open your eyes and look for one-of-a-kind, handmade beaded jewelry. It’s everywhere, and it’s calling your name.

M J Plaster is a successful author who provides information on shopping online for beads and jewelry in general. M J Plaster has been a commercial freelance writer for almost two decades, most recently specializing in home and garden, the low-carb lifestyle, investing, and anything that defines la dolce vita.

Author: M J Plaster
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Beading: A Short History

The art of beading has been around nearly as long as humans have been. From the moment an ancient human found a shell or stone with a natural perforation and strung it on a piece of vine to wear around their neck, beading has been popular in one form or another. Whether those objects were worn as a religious symbol, for personal adornment or to permeate them with special powers doesn’t matter. Bead stringing is the first form of beading and it persists to today.

Thousands of years ago, ancient tribes of humans strung hollow animal bones on a fiber. It is believed that wearing the bones of the animal would either protect them from that animal or fill them with the animal’s spirit, making them a less fragile human. When early humans developed the tools required to pierce another object, creating a hole, then many varied items were strung for many different purposes. Sea shells, seed pods, nut shells, fresh water mollusk shells, and even animal teeth and bones have been found by archeologists with man-made perforations. Some people made actual beads of clay and others learned to add pigments to color the beads. As humans progressed, they began to enamel the clay beads.

About 3000 years ago, the Egyptians learned to make glass and the next logical step was creating glass beads. They elevated the art of beading to a high level that is still admired today for its beauty and elements of design. The Egyptians become skilled at adding pigments to the glass to craft very colorful beads. They combined these colored glass beads with precious and semi-precious gemstones and precious metals, such as gold and silver, to fashion jewelry pieces that were stunning. Beads became a much sought after commodity, so much so that they were used in commerce and exported throughout the ancient world.

Other cultures embraced the art of bead making. Most people think of China when they think of an abacus, or counting frame-a calculating device that utilizes beads that are slid on wires that have been strung on a wooden frame. The Babylonians were actually the first to use an abacus, although theirs was drawn in dust or sand and small pebbles were used instead of beads. The counter abacus with strings and beads can be credited to the Egyptians, or the Ancient Indian people, possibly. The Chinese played an important role in the evolution and development of the abacus.

Romans traded beads all across their empire, and even the ancient Celts and the Vikings were bead craftsmen who used beads to adorn themselves in the form of necklaces, amulets, and bracelets. Ancient Amerinds used beads as personal ornaments, in religious ceremonies and to decorate clothing articles. Native American bead art is popular in fashion, today and an important source of revenue for many people. Nearly everyone has seen turquoise beaded watch bands, or Native American necklaces and belts.

Beading was-and still is-a part of Native American Society. Many tribes had quilling societies that were sacred to the women. To join the society, a young girl had to be recruited and then she was tutored and carefully trained in the bead making arts. The process of making the quillwork was sacred, but the finished piece — to be worn or used by someone — was not considered sacred. The product was of secondary importance to the process of manufacture. The focus was on the thoughts and prayers and the work, not on the finished piece — very different from Western society, which tends to value the finished product and ignores the process of creation.

There are contemporary beaders who report that beading is almost a spiritual experience for them as they embrace the art of creation as much as the finished work, the focus being on perfecting the art rather than a race to complete the final product. Carol Willoughby at THE BEAD COTTAGE, [http://www.thebeadcottage.com/], is an example of a person who appreciates the spiritual side of beading as much as the finished product.

Karen Vertigan Pope writes for Ciniva Systems, an award winning Virginia web design company.

Author: Karen Vertigan Pope
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Bead: a small, decorative object pierced for stringing. Owing to the wide range of colors, shapes and sizes that they come in, beads have captured the heart of men and women both, though not alike. Men prefer gifting them ! Not getting into the dry, elaborate account of ‘types of beads’, precisely beads that we usually come across, are made of one of these:

Glass, Plastic, Stones, Bone, Horn, Ivory, Metal, Shell, Coral, Gemstones, Clay, Wood, Ceramic & Crystal

There is an array of beaded products in the market, beyond beaded jewellery, jewellery boxes, and beaded handbags. Bead craft is well developed business, and the items produced, or rather embellished, are not just decorative pieces to be put in the show case, but daily use products, with a sparkle of beads and buttons.

Jewellery & jewelry box

Jewellery is perhaps, the most old form of beading products. From tribal to urban women, beaded jewellery has been a popular adornment. Whether its heavy bridal, wedding jewellery or bling junk for college girls, beads have found a way to be a part of jewellery for all occasions. You can find cheap beaded rings, earrings, bracelets, anklets, etc on pavements in Delhi markets. Girls and women across cultures wear junk jewellery, that go perfectly with light western and Indian dresses. Also there are complete necklace sets, that are must in your list, if you are planning a party. Beads go with, traditional as well as western dresses.

And then you have embellished boxes to keep your beaded possessions safely.

Ornament hooks

These are small ornament hooks, that are just perfect to hang your new set of necklaces and danglers.

Embellished Hand bags & Purses

They have been there for quite sometime now.

Home Decor Accessories

Wall hangings, wind chimes, embellished incense bottles, chandeliers. Almost anything and everything can be embellished. Though there are no hard and fast rules, but don’t embellish everything. Literally ! Lol

Miscellaneous

Apart from these there are other miscellaneous items like Bobby Pins, brooches, cuff links, hair accessories, cell phone charms and key rings, bookmarks, which are sure head turners.

Though Beading is a specialized job, and requires high degree of skill on a business level, it is also a pleasurable hobby and to pursue it, there are various beading kits and beading games(for kids) available in the market. There are small time courses that give beading lessons to children, men and women. So if you think you like stringing these colorful pearls into threads, with a larger picture in your mind, just go out and get your own kit, Beading is as easy as that.

Happy Beading !

For more information on Bead Craft

Author: Jeff A Hardy
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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The beading craft has been around for centuries – it is one of the oldest forms of jewelry design in the world. Although jewelry made of gold, silver, and precious gems has always been popular, even in ancient times, beaded jewelry has always held a high place in the jewelry world. Beaded jewelry has for centuries had particular significance in ceremonies and special occasions, and has been used to denote a person’s place in society. The beading craft has been one that has been revered and respected. Not everyone can be a master at this craft, no matter how easy it may look to others.

Beading is not just for making jewelry. Skilled crafters have been adding beadwork to clothing, pottery, baskets, furniture, and many other things for many years, and they still do today. Different cultures have different methods of beading, and many times you can tell if some beaded jewelry or baskets were made from a particular culture simply by noting the design and the types of materials used.

Several renowned jewelry designers use beading in their jewelry, and not just their costume jewelry. In the beading craft, clever designers know how to strategically place beads among more expensive gems to create beautiful designs that sell for thousands of dollars.

You can find this article and more like it at [http://www.beadingcentral.info]

Author: Renee Flowers
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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