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ill titleAbout Beads

Beads have been part of history since Neanderthal times, 38,000 years ago. These beings and the humans who came after them wore pierced nuts, stones, berries and other objects to ward off evil and to protect themselves from devastating natural events. As the known world expanded, so did bead-wearing.

With the establishment of trade routes about 6000 BC, bone, ivory, stone, gem, seed, wood, plant and resin beads traveled with the traders. As technology advanced, beads became more sophisticated. Filigree, decorated metal and glass beads began appearing across the world. The Venetians perfected colorful milleflore beads while the Bohemians developed precise ways to cut and etch crystal. Throughout China and Asia, craftspeople married ancient stone beads with silver and brass, painted porcelain beads and carved prayer and zodiac beads from stone and wood. In Africa and Island nations, various craftspeople developed techniques for coloring and carving intricate designs in bone and shell, as well as creating designs in silver.

The beadmaking traditions begun by these international craftspeople continues today as metalsmiths, glassmakers, lapidarists, potters, fiber and paper artists create beautiful handmade beads. Innovation also continues as craftspeople find new materials for beads in computer chips, plastics and Fimo.

For More Information about bead history see Beads, by Janet Coles and Robert Budwig

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