Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pandora beads

The Pandora name is more than just a Greek mythology character, however, the Pandora jewelry takes much inspiration from the tale – hope and opportunity.

Pandora’s lavish sterling silver jewelry traces its origin in Scandinavia where its line was launched in 2002. Pandora beads hit the U.S. markets in 2003 while its seasoned designers based in Copenhagen, Denmark come up with unique designs fabricated from sterling silver and 14-K gold. The uniqueness of Pandora beads lies in the wearer who selects and composes the jewelry according to a style he/she desires.

Getting started on your Pandora jewelry Having your own Pandora creation begins by choosing a bracelet that costs $21 or a chain for a necklace at a starting price of $49. You can choose your Pandora closure by selecting from sterling ball clasps, 14-karat gold lobster clasps and ball clasps. Pandora chains are available in oxidized silver, bright silver, or 14-karat gold.

The first original patented Pandora bracelet was the first to enter the US market. The chains feature “threaded screws” on the sections that serve as divisions for your Pandora beads. The raised screws help keep the beads from rolling out of its designated place. The decorative clips are meant to conceal two threads on the chain. The clips can cost $20, and Pandora has several designs available to suit the style you’re creating.

As soon as you have selected a chain, you can now begin selecting Pandora beads fabricated from sterling silver or 14 karat gold with prices starting at $16.50. Your Pandora creation will depend on your creativity and the type of style you wish since Pandora beads designs range from letters, decorative designs, floral, zodiacs, animals, semi-precious stones, dangle charms, Murano glass, diamonds, and many others. Pandora also has “spacers” that you can place in between the beads to create a varied look.

Sterling silver beads create a casual look while you can also go for gold using a gold chain or two-tone silver, or go all gold. You can freely experiment on your Pandora jewelry by arranging different types of beads for varied occasions, moods, or clothes. The total price of your Pandora jewelry will depend on the type of beads you have chosen for them, but to give you an idea how much a complete bracelet would cost: for a two-toned silver and gold combination for instance, estimated cost would reach $1,835.45. This bracelet features a floral design will “spacers”.

Maintaining your Pandora jewelry The next thing you need not worry is keeping your Pandora beads glossy. Just get a polishing cloth meant for silver and make sure you wipe the jewelry before and after using them. Be extra careful not to immerse your Pandora jewelry in a jewelry cleaner solution since it will take out the oxidation that some Pandora beads are treated to.

Ojime Beads

Said to have instant powers that will mesmerize a lot of people, Ojime beads are considered to be very special. Most of the initial impression of the item is an animated charm where one cannot help but come closer for a look. If you happen to see the accessory, you will find out how small yet attractive the carvings in the boxwood that exposes lavish details and intricate undercuts. There are some people however, who suspect that the piece is only a cast replica because of how blemish- free the original result is.

Origin From 1654 to 1868 or better identified as Edo Period, there were compartmentalized containers that were employed to hold acupuncture needles, medicinal herbs and personal belongings. In the start, Ojime beads were very simple which purely served as a sliding closure located above the “inro.” Soon enough, especially in the Meiji Period which is from 1868 to 1912, the boxes with dividers turned out to be a symbol of taste and status. It was then the onset of the item evolving as a beautiful molded accessory with challenging expressions of the skillful artisan.

Tradition If you are familiar with the national costume of the land of the rising sun, you know that a kimono does not have any pockets. Due to such, both the local men and women would be dressed in a compartmentalized container which is dubbed as “inro” typically hung under the obi, a broad textile belt on two cords. Above the string, a netsuke is anchored primarily functioning as a toggle. The smaller Ojime beads dish up as a sliding closure to lock the lid.

Significance The patterns of the Ojime beads suggest the mundane concerns of life as well as literature including myth and poetry. There are also items that exhibit the natural surroundings and indigenous customs. Accessories that were produced out of exquisite pieces such as rhinoceros husk and narwhal tusk are believed to possess magical properties and protective elements innate to the material. Take for example two fish paired together, it symbolizes harmony that is deemed to fight against evil.

Value In the rich culture of the Japanese, Ojime beads play a significant role. Most of the time, the item is engraved in elephant ivory but there are also others that are constructed out of tortoise shells, jade, gold, silver, coral, lacquer, glass and whale molars. Those accessories that dated back to the ancient periods have been treated as favorite collectibles by the natives. When you refer to a global scale, the pieces are regarded as the most precious.

There may have been plenty said about Ojime beads but fact remains that the item is essential in the mores and ethos of Japan.

Nicole Richie’s Beaded Dress

Beading certainly lifts a little black dress out of the ordinary.

Look of the Day: Nicole Richie’s Beaded “Mullet” Dress

“The gown, embellished with beading and sequins, featured long sleeves, an empire waist and a lengthy train. However, the striking black number didn’t overpower the her petite frame. The look was completed with classic black pumps and a simple box …StyleBistro”

http://www.stylebistro.com/Look%2Bof%2Bthe%2BDay/articles/9N14GOHxyZy/Look%2BDay%2BNicole%2BRichie%2BBeaded%2BMullet%2BDress

Nicole Richie's beaded dress

Definitely looking good, Nicole!

Making beaded watchbands

What a great idea!

Making beaded watchbands fulfills Grand Rapids woman’s lifelong pursuit of …

“Lora Conley buys castoff watches at garage sales, replaces the batteries and creates beaded stretch bands that give these watches a new look. She uses beads that she takes from necklaces. GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Lora Conley has been making things most …The Grand Rapids Press – MLive.com”
http://www.mlive.com/living/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2012/05/making_beaded_watchbands_fulfi.html

 Beaded watch bands

I hope this has inspired you to use beads in a new way!

Murano Beads

Not only is Venice in Italy known for their gondolas cruising on the narrow canals, this European region is also home to the skilled artisans who have influenced Murano beads that are complex in design. There are a lot of various approaches an individual can employ in applying the craft which also depends with the result one has in mind. From the very beginning such as the variance in shades until the end of completing the process, manufacturing these accessories should be performed with utmost care.

Initial Stage The method in fashioning Murano beads is commenced with the generation of color canes. The thing alone is already a challenge to the artisan no matter how skillful the person is. There are chemical elements involved in the highly sensitive fabrication just to obtain an absolute mixture. For example, the warmth exude by aquamarine can be attained when combining both cobalt and copper. In the other hand, the sensation exhibited by ruby red can be accomplished through a gold solution as toning agent.

Unique Items Murano beads have manufactured some very popular accessories such as Conterie, Millefori and Rosetta.

Conterie is also known as seed beads which are round and small. These kinds are fashioned by forming hollow tubes that have been colored then chopped in tiny sizes. Afterwhich, it is refined for the texture to be smooth.

Millefori is also known as lace beads which are attained much the same as with the others. However, what sets these kinds apart is that there are more colors employed and the cane is not empty but instead, is entirely solid in nature.

Rosetta is also known as chevron beads which are accomplished with six sheets of colored glass that has to be in correct order of white, blue, white, brick red, white and blue. These kinds are grounded in order to come up with prototypes of five concentrated stars having twelve points.

Technique Utilized Majority of the Murano beads are employed by an approach dubbed as wound lampworking. It uses a torch for melting in order for the artisan to easily shape the glass. At these modern times, the method no longer practices flames that have been fueled by oil. Even with the fact that the procedure started since the primordial age, it only blossomed in the European region in the 1300′s. Since that time on, the fame of which had spread all over the continent.

There are still other types of Murano beads aside from what were featured. There are the likes of blown beads which have been discovered when the artisans can actually soften the canes and puff the glass which is better recognized today as Filigree, a delicate jewel with twisted threads of silver and gold. When you roam around the malls, you will not miss this sophisticated class that has been a favorite of every elegant woman.

Metal Beads

Referred to as one of the oldest applied sciences, the history of Processed Mining can be tracked back to 6000BC. In the primeval era, the form was rudimentary. Albeit for you to gain a better understanding, it is worthwhile to take a look at its association with humanity.

Gold is one of the metal beads that were rampant in the primordial periods. Because of the malleable characteristic, Stone Age man found it easy to fashion into ornamentations. Most of the early materials were not entirely pure because they contained significant amounts of silver elements. Due to such, people from the ancient civilization were led to name another mineral which is electrum, an alloy which has similar shade with amber. Gold has a chemical symbol of Au which has been derived from a Latin word “Aurum” meaning “shining down.”

Copper is one of the metal beads that were actually regarded significant in the primordial periods. It was employed as a raw item in producing tools for weaponry. In antiquity, the mineral was smashed into tiny fragments from the whole mass. Afterwhich, the small bits were hammered and pounded. By the entry of 4000BC to 6000BC, the mineral was considered to be ordinary. Copper has a chemical symbol Cu which has been derived from a Latin word “Cuprum” meaning “from the island of Cyprus.”

Lead is one of the metal beads that are not spotted free in nature. However in the primordial periods, the sulfide of which called as galena was utilized by the natives of Egypt as cosmetic for the eyes. With a melting point of 327 degrees Celsius, it follows that the mineral would simply stream to the lowest point in the hearth for collection. At around 3500 BC, the importance was discovered especially as a conduit and container. Lead has a chemical symbol of Pb which has been derived from a Latin word “plumbum” meaning “liquid silver.”

Silver is one of the metal beads that can be simply found in the surroundings albeit, the occurrence is in season. Ranking second in terms of ductility and pliability, it is typically steady in air and water but taints when laid bare to sulfur and ozone. The mineral is very soft which was not complicated for the artisans to turn it into bracelets, earrings and necklaces, among the others. Silver has a chemical symbol of “Ag” which has been derived from a Latin word “argentum” meaning “white and shining.”

Tin is one of the metal beads that were hardly ever uncontaminated. By 2500 BC, the Sumerians had identified that if there are various ores mixed together in the process of smelting, another kind will be formed which is much stronger than the original. There were pieces in the past such as an axe head that constituted only 11% of the mineral. Tin has a chemical symbol Sn which has been derived from a Latin word “stannum” meaning “titan.”

Until this juncture, all of these still play an important role not only the world of accessorizing but even in diverse industries.

Mardi gras beads

New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States celebrates the biggest Mardi gras in the whole continent. However, Mardi gras are celebrated almost everywhere in the world. The celebrations vary from culture to culture and may behold some religious aspects in honor of patron saints as in the case of predominantly Catholic countries. Part of Mardi gras celebrations is throwing Mardi gras beads.

Traditionally, throwing of Mardi gras beads trace its roots to Czechoslovakia in the 1920′s. The spectators became so fond of beads that the “krewes” soon began throwing Mardi gras beads on the streets. The first used beads thrown were fabricated from glass were inexpensive strands. However, the popularity of glass beads raised their value so that plastic beads came to replace glass beads for safety reasons and because the latter became expensive towards the 1970′s.

The plastic beads were so designed as to emulate the jewels being worn by royalties. Today’s beads thrown in Mardi gras are more exciting as they come in a kaleidoscope of colors, shapes, and sizes. Two types of beads are thrown in a Mardi gras: “throw beads” (also called machine beads) and “handstrung beads”.

What is their difference? It’s actually on the process involved in assembling the beads. Machine beads are fabricated by directly molding plastic beads onto the thread. When done with molding the beads, a selected finish is applied, like metallic, pearl, or Aurora Borealis finishes. To close the strand, a heated metal pin is attached to the plastic ends and when melted ends are pressed against each other. Today’s makers simply slightly melt the two end beads and clasp them together.

Handstrung beads, meanwhile, are individually stringing the beads onto a thread. This type of Mardi gras beads is more unique, uses more colors, but more expensive as well compared to their machine counterparts. The distinction of handstrung beads is the medallion, which can be hung right in the middle or all over the necklace, and are made from metal alloy, molded plastic, or Polystone (a “polystone” is a ceramic filled with polymer).

You can tell the difference between both by examining the gaps in the Mardi gras beads. If the thread becomes clearly visible and the beads are immovable on the thread, then it’s most likely a machine bead. Mardi gras bead-twisting is another variation of Mardi gras beads. Mardi gras beaded necklaces are twisted to form various shapes and designs.

The history of Mardi gras in New Orleans can be attributed to the first French settlers in 1699. The French explorers celebrated a French holiday along the banks of the Mississippi River. Mardi gras literally mean “Fat Tuesday” and hence celebrated on that day of the week. The dates can vary depending on when the Easter is celebrated as determined by the Catholic Church. The Mardi gras in New Orleans is always celebrated 47 days prior to Easter Sunday.

Mala Beads: A Meditation Tool

The concept of meditation has been around for thousands of years. It has been practiced by millions of people from different walks of life and different religions. In fact, groups and individuals have already established certain rules and concepts that support meditation. They have built meditation as a tradition, and of the rules set by these people, the use of mala beads is deemed one of the most important.

Mala beads are a form of rosary beads. It’s a string of usually 108 beads with one of those considered the summit bead or the sumeru. Mala beads are popular in India and parts of Tibet, with hundreds of people using them for chanting and reciting of a mantra. The word “mala” originated from Sanskrit and means “necklace” or “garland”.

Characteristics

The mala beads are designed in varying styles, sizes, and colors. They also differ according to what materials are used. For instance, most mala beads are crafted from sandal wood, tulsi or basil wood, crystals, or rudraksh seeds. Each of these materials has their own properties that make mala beads worth possessing. The properties of these materials, according to many users, can create certain effects in the subconscious mind of the meditation practitioners.

Usage

Mala beads are designed for one particular use –- to aid individuals with their mantras. The mantras, as you may know, are performed in repetition, sometimes even thousands of times, and during the process, the mind may wander off. If the level of energy present in your system is low during meditation, chances are you will fall into deep slumber, and if the energy is too high, mental distractions like fantasies may occur and interfere with the process. So to control your mind and your whole being during the meditation process, mala beads can be used. Simply put, the beads help to track the repetitions involved in the mantras.

How are the mala beads handled? Well, typically there are two ways of handling these beads for meditation. Traditionally, they are held in the right hand, hanging between the ring finger and the thumb. The one used to rotate the beads one by one is the middle finger. On the other hand, the mala beads are handled hanging on the middle finger. The thumb is basically used to rotate the beads, one at a time. In both of these ways, the index finger doesn’t touch the beads.

It is important to note that in doing the mantras, the mala beads are rotated in a particular rhythm that goes with every breath. The counting begins at the sumeru and continues until the sumeru is touched again. It basically goes in loop.

Japa mala (prayer beads) of Tulasi wood with 108 beads

Photo courtesy of Korrigan

Magnetic Hematite Beads

Magnets have been used in almost all types industries for various purposes. The fashion and craft industry is one emerging group to make use of them in large quantities. And, one important achievement the craft industry has made with the use of magnets is the development of magnetic hematite beads.

Magnetic hematite beads are a rapidly growing craze in the craft and fashion industry. Several bead artists have already used them for creating their own art and jewelry projects. And, with an ever growing number of people using magnetic hematite beads, more and more jewelry and craft stores are now providing the public with a wide selection of beads made of magnetic hematite.

Magnetic hematite is a gemstone developed by one sure process – magnetizing of simulated hematite. Note that “simulated” hematites are used here for the reason that the natural hematite does not subject itself to magnetization. It cannot be magnetized, to simply put.

To best use the strong power of magnets contained in the magnetic hematite beads, bead artists have designed and developed their bead designs using polarization. The sides of the beads are polarized, making each piece useful for clutching hundreds of strands together. This is basically the reason that you see multiple strands of matching magnetic jewelries beautifully aligned.

Magnetic hematite beads are popular not just for their strong power, but also for their heath benefits. Yes, you heard me right. It is believed that the health benefits of the magnetic hematite beads are available in magnetic jewelry. The beads, when used, are said to be capable of maintaining the natural charge of the body’s nerve cells. As a result, bodily aches and pains are eliminated. Aside from that, the magnetic hematite beads are deemed to enhance the healing process. They can also help make the immune system strong, and they are even great for those who are suffering from insomnia as the beads can increase the quality of sleep.

There is more to be said about the health benefits of magnetic hematite beads. Many people believe that when the magnetic hematite beads are worn on the wrist, hands, or fingers, it can provide immediate relief to any hand ailments. And, when worn on the neck or on ears, the magnetic hematite beads can help eliminate light headaches and migraines. While these benefits are perfect for both sexes and all ages, it is important to note that pregnant women and those who wear a pacemaker are not recommended to use magnetic hematite beads.

Today, jewelry and artistic items made of magnetic hematite beads are sold in almost all craft and jewelry stores. Some are sold wholesale, while others are for individual purchase. The price does vary according to their style and the intensity of their magnetic power.

Photo courtesy of RKBot

Magnetic beads

Do magnetic beads really have therapeutic powers? Humans have worn beads for many thousands of years. In fact, latest discoveries from archaeological sites date the earliest proofs of beads to around 100,000 years old. The most common explanation is that beads are worn for self-adornment. However, beads in many cultures of the world are used in rituals and are even regarded as sacred, such as Rudraksha beads, which the Hindus believe to come from the tears of their Lord Shiva.

On the lighter side of things, magnetic beads also serve the purpose of convertible fashionable accessories. Many beaders actually are having fun creating jewelry since no clasps are necessary to close the piece. String the magnetic beads onto a nylon cord or SoftFlex of any length, then put the wraps together and the magnetic attraction will hold them in place. These beads are natural magnets so it’s viable to experiment on fun designs without the hassle of putting in clasps or doing overhand knots to close the wraps.

In other instances, beads are not just worn as a simple piece of jewelry. Beads that are magnetic are thought to have healing properties. Some people who have tried putting on magnetic beads to relieve pain do support this idea. Research has revealed that magnetic jewelry items like bracelets as well as other magnetic therapy products are potent alternatives, effectively relieving pain without the use of medicines.

Although it has not become a trend, professional sports trainers, chiropractors, and golfers are trying out the effectiveness of magnetic therapy by using magnetic beads to help in the treatment of sports-related injuries, arthritis, carpal tunnel, tendonitis, tennis elbow, neck pain, tennis elbow, forms of inflammation, to reduce high blood pressure, and likewise relieve general body pains and aches.

The idea of the therapeutic powers of magnetic stones is not a modern concept. Like beads, this is a thousands-year-old belief that traces its roots to the Egyptians, Asians, Hebrew, Indian, Greeks, and Europeans. The early people from these civilizations used naturally magnetic stones in their holistic medicine. However, this concept only reached the shores of the United States in the past few years.

Moreover, magnetic therapy through magnetic beads is used to enhance the body’s natural healing process by relieving body pains and discomfort. Although this idea still has to be substantiated by Science, applying magnetic therapy over the affected or injured portion is believed to increase blood flow to reduce inflammation as well as enhance the body’s natural healing powers. The magnetic properties of Hematite stones, in the meantime, are believed to generate a paramagnetic field that blocks any signals of pain to the brain.

So aside from being worn as jewelry, magnetic beads in the form of jewelry items are currently being looked into as alternative medicine in countries such as Japan, China, Austria, India and Germany to alleviate pain symptoms and promote healing.