Faceted Beads

Another way a manufacturer can change the general shape of the bead is through faceting. Faceted beads are beads with many flattened edges done in such a way to make it look like a cut gemstone. Faceted beads can be any material, theoretically, but they tend to be made of either amber, stone (including gemstones), or glass.

The term ‘faceted’ basically means that the bead has many flattened edges, as if the corners have been cut off. But faceting can take any number of forms, depending on the bead. Continue reading

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Snowflake Earrings

I just finished some snowflake earrings, which were probably the easiest project I’ve done so far. Continue reading

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Supply and Demand for Beads

I’ve talked a bit about the different options people had in the past regarding beads, particularly in terms of material, color or shape of the beads and then color or material of the thread or wire or string used.

There are is a huge range of shapes of beads, and colors and materials. There is also a wide range of materials and colors of each used to string beads. And there are all sorts of other characteristics that vary between the thread and the beads.

But there’s one huge factor that plays into all of it, and that’s supply and demand.

Continue reading

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Collared Beads

Sorry again for the delay in posts; I’m still sick. Feeling much better today, so hopefully by Thursday I’ll be back on track!

Collared gold foil bead from Kerala, India

Collared gold-foil bead

We’ve talked about segmented beads and gadrooned beads, so I thought we would stick with the theme of ‘modifications to the general shape of the bead’ and talk about collared beads.

Also, I just like collared beads. Continue reading

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Mutisalah Earrings

The latest beading project was one that I hoped to actually sell, since it would be nice to have a store on the side here. So I decided to make some earrings using the same mutisalah beads I used in my first bracelet. Continue reading

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Stringing in the Past 2

Sorry for the delay in my usual Thursday post. I was terribly ill yesterday, so it had to wait until today!

Last week I talked a bit about stringing the past in terms of what people were using to string the beads. We don’t talk about it much in archaeology, and when I mentioned it to a colleague last week, she had a similar “Oh, lord, that’s so simple and obvious why haven’t we ever thought about that?” moment.

We came to the conclusion that so often in archaeology we don’t have any of the remains of what was used to string the beads, because that would generally require either highly de-oxyginated, water-logged conditions (like a peat bog) or extremely dry, arid conditions (like the desert). And the places where most bead research is happening are neither of those. Continue reading

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Melon (Gadrooned) Beads

Roman Glass Melon Bead

Roman Glass Melon Bead

Gadrooned beads (most commonly known as melon beads) are another style that has been around for millennia. Melon beads are beads that have convex decorations around the edge that make it look a bit like a melon. Archaeologists tend to refer to these as gadrooned beads, since that’s what Beck usually calls them and archaeologists tend to go with what Beck said. Also, there are plenty of gadrooned beads that don’t quite resemble melons, so gadrooned works a bit better. Continue reading

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Project 3: Beaded Dragon

I figure it’s a logical progression to go from a bracelet to a necklace to a dragon. And honestly, anyone who says otherwise is missing out.

I didn’t have anything to go on to make my dragon, really, I just wanted to make a dragon. When I was 13, a friend of mine from Taiwan gave me a beaded dragon key chain. I thought it had been lost forever until a few weeks ago, when I was unpacking some boxes and it was sitting there, right on top. Continue reading

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Stringing in the Past

Trying to figure out how I'm supposed to do this thing...On Saturday, I talked about the practical differences in making beaded hexagons with thread versus wire. Wire was harder to work with and made my piece bigger than I intended, but held the shape much better. Thread was easier to work with, but often folded on itself or got tangled easily.

And that’s when I realized something about beads in archaeology.

We never talk about how people strung them,  what they were strung on. Continue reading

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Segmented Beads

I’ve mentioned segmented beads a few times, so it seemed right to make that next in my line of posts about bead types.

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Example of a mold used to make segmented beads (Francis 2002, 90).

Segmented beads usually refers to a technique of manufacture for glass beads, not to the specific shape of the bead. Segmented beads are generally made rolling a tube of glass along a mold to form bulges, though this can be done by hand as well. These tubes are then cut in lengths of one, two, three, four, or five bulges to create a single bead. Continue reading

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