You might feel that the history of handcrafted beaded jewelry cannot possibly be very interesting, but in fact, it is quite intriguing to learn where this part of culture began. Some say that the beginnings of beaded jewelry began more than 70,000 years ago when man found the beads and gems and thought it was incredibly beautiful. Beaded jewelry has been used in many ways. One way is simply for beauty. Another is for value. Some would trade and buy with beaded jewelry or beads. And some cultures even used them as talisman. So how was beaded jewelry initially created? Let’s take a look.
Although a man or a woman living in those times would not possibly have any practical use for them; however, they could not carry them around without modern day bags or carrying devices, nor did they have pockets. So, as legend tells us, they attached the gemstones or beads to leather straps and wore them around their neck to create the first handcrafted beaded jewelry. Over time, handcrafted beaded jewelry started to become a status symbol. Those with power and wealth were the ones who had beaded jewelry. Beads even have been used as an item of value for which trade could be made.
Handcrafted beaded jewelry has been made out of many types of beads. Beads have been known to be made out of glass, bone, porcelain, shells, paper, clay, metals, gemstones, ivory, and even wood. Bead craftsman often held the trade secrets in confidence. They were expected to keep the bead-making skills a secret. Some of them even risked themselves if they failed to keep the information to themselves. Mass production of beads didn’t even begin until the 1800s when glass beading became widely available. It was at this time that Swarovski created their process for making their special beads which are still in high demand today. Even today, the secrets of how their beads are made are kept secret.
Different parts of the world created different types of handcrafted beaded jewelry. Central and South America are known for their wampum and quill creations, while Native American beadwork usually included a lot of turquoise and silver. Bead making in France began as early as 38,000 BC! Worry beads, Filigree, and highly decorated ceramic beads originated in Greece, while Italy specialized in the Murano glass beads. There are dozens of other countries not yet discussed here, but beaded jewelry has a rich and vast history that is incredibly interesting. Suffice it to say that there is a rich cultural tradition with wearing beaded jewelry.
THE FLAME QUEEN OPAL
Australia’s Lightning Ridge region is known as the black opal capital of the world, and has produced thousands of opals for beaded jewelry, as well as loose stones. But the most famous opal it ever produced has to be the Flame Queen Opal.
Back in the early 20th century, a miner in Lightning Ridge abandoned his claim in order to fight in WW1. The claim was soon taken over by three down-luck miners. For three weeks they dug in the earth, surviving on bread and water, hoping to strike it rich. When they got down to about 30 feet, they struck a hard black nodule. Only when they brought it into the sunlight did they realize what they had found.
One of the miners was very skilled in working beaded jewelry and polishing gems. The other two trusted him to bring out the beauty of the Flame Queen Opal, and he didn’t disappoint.
The Flame Queen Opal is a “red-on-black” opal, and has often been referred to as a “fried egg.” This is because the center of the opal filled in a deeper cavity, resulting in a different coloration. Depending on the light and the angle at which it’s viewed, the “yolk” of the Flame Queen Opal looks red, orange, bronze or yellow. The outer band is a beautiful blue or green, again depending on the angle it’s viewed at. It’s never been set in beaded jewelry, and may be too big for delicate beaded jewelry settings to comfortably hold. At 263 carats and three inches across, it can fill the palm of a hand.
The Flame Queen Opal also has a possible fossil on the back. Some Australian geologists believe there’s an imprint of what might be a ginkgo Biloba leaf in the veiny patterns on the back. An ancient tree may have existed on the site.
Unfortunately, by the time they found it, the three miners were so desperately hungry, they didn’t have time to hold out for a suitable buyer. They sold the Flame Queen Opal to a local dealer of opals and beaded jewelry for only £93, about $150 in the U.S. That’s got to rank as one of the greatest rip-offs, or one of the greatest deals, of all time—depending on which angle you view it from!
The Flame Queen Opal has been sold at several beaded jewelry and gem auctions, and is now in private ownership.
Handmade jewelry is an extension of your personal trait. As a reflection of your own character, it’s a total injustice if your jewelry was just made from imported common stuff. It is worse if your jewelry collections are just the standard off-the-shelf items that everyone wears or buys at the big chain stores.
You are unique that is why your jewelry should be unique also. And handmade jewelry is the way to go. A handmade jewelry is a highly customized personal design. It may not be too expensive, but its real worth comes from the level of personalization invested on it.
A unique handmade jewelry can be funky, classic, elegant or anything in between. You can use it on any occasion and it will still fit into your attire. Because handmade jewelry is made not just for the clothes you wear but for your very own personal and unique characteristics. This is the secret why a unique handmade jewelry is very versatile.
You may want to achieve a modern look to your personality and add a funky playfulness to your wardrobe; then handmade jewelry should be your only option. You need to buy a handmade jewelry that can accurately depict your unique sense of modern playfulness and zest.
A unique handmade jewelry can provide color to your modern ensemble. You might opt for an all black satin night dress and top it off with a hot and whitish handmade jewelry made from sea glass beads. The contrast catch attention you can surely make a lot of heads turn. You’re actually exuding the seriousness of modern lifestyles but with a bit of lively playfulness avoiding drabness and monotony.
A unique handmade jewelry can also be used to emphasize a personal statement. Because a handmade jewelry can be made from very exotic and extraordinary materials, the artistic flair that you can put into it is limitless.
You may use your handmade jewelry to express your indignation or approval for a certain issue. It can highlight your advocacy in a very fashionable and cultured manner. You will end up getting your expected attention without really doing anything. All you did was to wear unique handmade jewelry that carries your personal statement.
Handmade jewelry designs are not modern inventions. In fact, early humans and the ancients decorate themselves with handmade shells, gemstones beads or anything they found beautiful. As the technology for jewelry making advances, the sophistication of handmade jewelry making also improved.
Today, you can find lots of handmade jewelry set as bracelets, anklets, necklaces, rings, and decorative buttons, pins or clasps. The materials used to make a handmade jewelry also became elaborate and unique. Sea glass beads, colorful gems, shiny silvers, and elegant stones are just some of the materials used for handmade jewelry making.
If you want to highlight your unique personality or rise above the complete drabness of mass produced accessories, then you need to have a set of handmade jewelry. You can become a modern cosmopolitan citizen just by wearing an elegant handmade jewelry.
When the hankering to buy some new handmade jewelry hits you, chances are your brain thinks more in terms of “earrings” or “necklace” than in terms of “violet” or “nectarine.” But choosing jewelry based on color families adds a dash of whimsy to your shopping list and injects a large dose of fashion into even the most monochrome of wardrobes.
When choosing colors for your jewelry, always remember Pantone. What began as a printing company in the 1950’s, Pantone now dictates what hues will be hot in the fashion and design industries in each upcoming season.
There are so many different types of earrings! It can be difficult to decide what works best for your look. Fashion jewelry styles are always changing and if you are going to invest in a handcrafted piece it’s important to choose the right type.
Your Everyday Look: Stud Earrings and Hoops
Stud earrings are one of the most common types. You will commonly see gemstone earrings attached to a simple backing. One of the benefits of this style is that it gives you a secure fit so if you wearing something like diamond or crystal earrings you don’t have to worry about them falling off.
Beaded gifts are always in season, and even more so for the eccentric person you know. This quality handcrafted jewelry is also appreciated by the earthy friend or family member that you know. These people truly appreciate things that are handmade. The eloquent person in your life is sure to appreciate the fine quality of this type of handcrafted jewelry and express that back to you when they thank you for this gift. If you are getting beaded earrings for yourself, you are sure to find the colors, styles, shapes, and unique features attractive and never boring.
Handmade earrings are a great gift for yourself or someone you know who is of nearly any personality. This quality handcrafted jewelry is carefully created by loving hands of the jewel and artist, creating a unique set of earrings each and every time. Whether dangly, earthy, sophisticated, fancy, wacky, or fun, you will be sure to love this style of handcrafted jewelry. It never goes out of style, so you will have a set of earrings to weather all of the changes in fashion! Get a few color sets that match a multitude of colors, and you’ll have earrings to last a lifetime!
With the economy in a slump, many people don’t have the cash that they used to in order to buy the jewelry that they need and want. Even though you may not have the same jewelry budget that you used to have, it doesn’t mean that you can’t accessorize and have jewelry that is fashionable and that accentuates your outfits.
Handmade jewelry has made a comeback and has become very popular these days. In fact, open up any fashion magazine as of late and you will see some form of handmade jewelry being worn by today’s top models and fashion icons. Most of this type of jewelry utilizes beads as the main element of the piece. This makes this type of jewelry very fun to wear as beads can be purchased in all shapes and sizes to create some very interesting jewelry pieces. Instead of paying thousands of dollars on expensive jewelry pieces, the average person can buy everything they need to make a fantastic jewelry piece from their local craft store for under 20 dollars. This price break alone has made jewelry handmade products extremely popular.
Not only is the price affordable nice with this type of jewelry, but the customization possibilities are also a huge draw. Have you ever wanted a certain jewelry piece that matched your outfit, but was unable to find something? This is very common, but this doesn’t have to be the case any longer. With handmade jewelry, you can create exactly what you want to match that unique outfit, or other accessories that may be difficult to match with. Many people who get into creating jewelry handmade often will create pieces completely specific to one outfit, and with the prices of this type of beaded jewelry being affordable, you could literally create a piece of jewelry for every outfit you own.
While it is cheap to make jewelry yourself, many people are finding that hand made jewelry sells for quite a bit in the local and online jewelry markets. While anyone can get beads for cheap, the creativity and combination that people create are what drives the masses to buy this type of jewelry. Many stay at home moms have been able to establish a pretty decent income driving business on the side creating handmade jewelry.
As you can see, handmade jewelry is extremely fashionable and is family budget approved. Have some fun and create that perfect piece of jewelry that you have always wanted. If you aren’t the creating type, look in local stores and online for the perfect piece that someone else has created. Regardless, handmade jewelry is here to stay and is definitely fashionable.
Chances are the name Swarovski conjures images of dazzling, brightly hued stones in your mind’s eye. For nearly 70 years, the Swarovski name has been synonymous with sparkling jewels, but the real story begins long before that.
In the late 19th century, Daniel Swarovski worked in his father’s glass cutting factory in Wittens, Austria. Fascinated by the trade, Daniel practiced his skill with verve and acuity, and by age 30 had invented his own glass-cutting machine. Prior to his newfangled invention, skilled craftsmen had done glass cutting by hand, but the manual labor factor meant that each stone was slightly different than the last. With the creation of Swarovski’s contraption, crystal stones were now turned out swiftly and uniformly, which would eventually revolutionize the glass jewelry industry.
Although the decades saw Swarovski crystals used in everything from traffic signals to binoculars, it wasn’t until the 1920s that the fashion world took notice of the gleaming gems and houses like Chanel and Schiaparelli snapped up fabric sewn with the scintillating crystal beads. By the 1950s, Swarovski had teamed with Christian Dior to develop the highly reflective, glistening coating that defines the Swarovski crystals we know today.
Since the mid 20th century, Swarovski has emerged as the frontrunner in crystal beads. The company is known for its constant innovation and creation of new colors, coatings and designs. Swarovski crystals beads make stunning necklaces, bracelets, earrings and anklets. In fact, no matter how you choose to wear your Swarovski crystal beads, the beauty imbued by the 118-year history will shine spectacularly through.
How do famous gems and beaded jewelry pieces get their names? Many are named after their owners, or after a famous place or incident. The Hortensia Diamond was named after Hortense de Beauharnais, a French woman who led an adventurous and illustrious life… but she never owned the Hortensia Diamond. There’s no record of her having even worn it!
So why is the Hortensia Diamond named after her?
Hortense was the daughter of a Parisian Vicomte. Her parents’ marriage was unhappy, and ended in divorce. Hortense and her mother, Marie Rose Josephe Tascher de la Pagerie (say that one three times fast!), lost their social standing and most of their possessions, including their beaded jewelry, and moved back in with Marie Rose’s parents on the island of Martinique.
They may have gotten out just in time. Hortense’s father didn’t survive the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution.
After enough time passed, Marie Rose (who now went by the name of Josephine) and Hortense moved back to Paris, and began to make a name for themselves once again in French society. Josephine caught the eye of the already famous general Napoleon Bonaparte, who lavished her with gifts of beaded jewelry, and married her.
This made Hortense Napoleon’s step-daughter. When Napoleon became Emperor, he also came into ownership of the French Crown Jewels, including the 20.53 carat Hortensia Diamond. Maybe the flat, peach-pink stone was named after the girl during this time, due to her love of gems and beaded jewelry.
Hortense married Louis Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother. In 1806, Napoleon appointed Louis as King of Holland, making Hortense the country’s queen.
In this picture, we see Hortense bedecked in beaded jewelry and a tiara. But even as Queen of Holland, when she had a treasure trove of gems and beaded jewelry, she had no direct connection to the Hortensia Diamond.
These were tumultuous years for Hortense. She and her husband were so unhappy that, like her mother, she was eventually divorced. This happened during Napoleon’s exile on Elba. Divorced or not, Hortense remained politically active, and when Napoleon escaped exile, she supported his return to power.
When Napoleon failed, Hortense was punished for supporting him with exile from France. She wandered Europe for awhile, before settling in Switzerland in 1817.
Most scholars think the Hortensia Diamond was named after her between 1806 and 1817, but no one knows why. It’s just one of those unsolved mysteries surrounding famous gems and beaded jewelry!
Let’s add the Black Orlov Diamond to the growing list of gems and beaded jewelry rumored to be stolen from Indian statues. I’ve featured several others on this blog.
The Black Orlov is also known as the Eye of Brahma, since legend has it that a renegade monk stole it from a statue of Brahma. At the time it was 195 carats, before being cut down to 67.50 carats, faceted, and set in beaded jewelry.
Though it’s said to have come from India, like so many rare beaded jewelry pieces and gems, the Orlov Diamond’s story really takes place in Imperial Russia.
In the 18th century, Grigory Orlov was quite the ladies’ man. He wasn’t of noble birth, or particularly well educated, but he was strong, handsome, and rich enough to give women expensive beaded jewelry whenever he liked. There came a time, however, when his eye fell on the wrong woman. Princess Kourakina was the mistress of one of Orlov’s colleagues, who was understandably upset at the affair. A great scandal ensued, which ended in a dual. Orlov killed his colleague, and never mind the damage to his reputation.
All this to-do attracted the attention of young Catherine, who was at that time only a Grand Duchess and Empress Consort, married to Peter III. She demanded to meet the rake Orlov, who could have any woman he wanted. It wasn’t long until they were lovers. That was when Catherine told him about her plans to take the throne from her husband. Orlov was intrigued, and when the time came, he organized and led the coup that dethroned her husband Peter. In return, she gave him a title, and he became Count Orlov.
Orlov was Catherine’s favorite counselor and confidant for many years. Over the course of their love affair, Orlov gave Catherine numerous gifts, included priceless gems, beaded jewelry, the throne of Russia, and a child.
But eventually, Catherine the Great turned her attentions to Grigory Alexandrovich Potemkin, and spurned Orlov.
He was devastated. He sought to win her back with gifts, like beaded jewelry. That’s when he came upon and purchased the enormous diamond that would eventually bear his name. He gave it to Catherine, but she couldn’t be bought back.
That didn’t mean she didn’t hold her former lover in high regard. She gave him as many gifts as he gave her—beaded jewelry, a marble palace in St. Petersburg, a title. She also named the diamond after him, and had it set in a beaded jewelry setting at the top of a royal scepter. A fitting place for the symbol of the man who helped her take the throne.
The story of the Bahia Emerald isn’t one of women flaunting dazzling beaded jewelry, but of Las Vegas heists and near blood baths in the desert. It is the largest emerald stone ever found, and the single largest emerald crystal ever discovered in embedded in rock. It weighs 840 pounds. That’s about 1,900,000 carats. It’s worth about $400 million. Chump change, right?
After it was found in Brazil, it exchanged hands several times between gem and beaded jewelry custodians, until it wound up stored in New Orleans—at exactly the wrong time.
Button jewelry is a surprisingly attractive type of handcrafted jewelry that you can get today that is custom designed and look like designer pieces of art. These items make incredibly thoughtful quality handcrafted jewelry, and those you give them to will be impressed with their quality. You can get button items crafted in the form of bracelets and pendant necklaces. These items, when combined together in the hands of a fine jewel and artist, make incredible gifts for those you love, and certainly are conversation pieces for those who own and wear them.
Giving button jewelry as a gift is unique in itself, and the recipient will be amazed at how unique this item is. Handcrafted jewelry such as this is not common and will be appreciated. The first item that you can give is a button art necklace, which is presented in the format of an articulate looking pendant on a chain. They can have many colors and patterns, and come in a limitless variety of styles. Shimmering sterling silver is often used as is glimmering gold. Some show more of an artist’s hand while others are more sophisticated and simple. These pieces of quality handcrafted jewelry are sure to be treasured for years to come.
As unique as button jewelry is in the form of a pendant necklace, crafted in fine quality, a bracelet made out of buttons and other accessories of artistic merit is also a great gift. When giving a bracelet, you will be able to see that there are many more artistic expressions in this piece of handcrafted jewelry. As a gift, a bracelet is something that someone can wear to accentuate an outfit, so if you know the recipient wears a lot of a certain color, consider getting a bracelet that will go along well with that. The many parts in a quality handcrafted jewelry piece usually flow well in a color theme.
Giving button jewelry as a gift is something that the recipient is sure to cherish for many years to come. Because the gift is so unusual, they will remember you very well every time someone asks them where they got it as well. This makes the bracelet a special gift indeed. Handcrafted jewelry always assures that the item is unique and made of fine quality. Giving a piece of quality handcrafted jewelry is a loving gesture which will be remembered for a long time.
Tips To Caring For Your Sterling Silver
As women, we love our jewelry. We admire it. We wear it, and we always want it to look as terrific as the day we first bought it. Every type of jewelry, including gold and gemstones, needs to be cared for properly if it is to last a lifetime and sterling silver is no different. Also a precious metal, sterling silver is both durable and strong. When combined with the strength of cubic zirconia, jewelry lovers have one sparkling duo that is sure to last for years to come.
Tip # 1: Always put your jewelry on last.
When you're getting ready for work, school or just running daily errands, it's a good idea to put your jewelry on last. Why? Products such as perfume, hand lotion and even hair spray can cause residue to build up on your jewelry, especially rings, and can make it more challenging to clean. In addition, hand lotion can cause your gemstones to look cloudy, so make sure that it's dry before handling your jewelry and/or putting on your rings.
Tip # 2: Store your jewelry in small bags with a zip closure.
Sterling silver, over time, will tarnish. However, it's worth noting that gold can also become dull and require a quick polish, so the fact that sterling silver too will need polishing is no reason to shy away from it. One way to preserve the beauty of your sterling silver jewelry is by polishing it after each wear and placing it in a zip-loc jewelry bag. These small bags are available in all sizes, and can be found in 1" x 1" measurements and larger depending on your needs. When you're ready to enjoy your jewelry again, simply remove it from the bag and it's ready to wear.
Tip # 3: Keep your sterling silver and cubic zirconia jewelry out of direct light.
If possible, store your jewelry in the gift box that accompanied your purchase. You may be able to slow the tarnishing process by keeping your jewelry out of direct natural and/or indoor light.
Tip # 4: Separate your jewelry to prevent scratching.
If you own jewelry that features high polishing and/or bold designs with surfaces that would show scratches easily, store them separate from other pieces. For instance, earring posts and ring settings could create a problem for neighboring jewelry pieces if they were to be stored loosely in a jewelry box. Instead, store your jewelry in a zip-loc bag and in its original gift box as noted above. Not only is this method of storage ideal for preventing tarnish, but it will also help to prevent contact and unnecessary scratching from other pieces.
Tip # 5: Clean your jewelry with care.
When choosing a cleaner for your jewelry, make sure that it's specifically made for your type of metal and/or gemstones. For instance, some cleaners and polishing cloths are created for sterling silver and others for gold. In addition, some cleaners are not recommended for certain gemstones, so always make sure to read the directions completely before using any product on your jewelry. If in doubt, use only a combination of mild soap and water to keep your jewelry sparkling.
The information contained in this article is designed to be used for reference purposes only. It should not be used as, in place of or in conjunction with professional advice on cleaning and/or caring for your jewelry.
Article by: Melanie Sparks
When Caesar was murdered, Marc Antony fought a civil war with his killers. He won (of course!), then summoned the Queen of Egypt to answer for why she hadn’t supported him. Cleopatra knew she had to impress Antony. She didn’t want Egypt and Rome at war.
So Cleopatra, being Cleopatra, made a few arrangements.