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Bead And Jewelry History Blog
Essays on the history of beads, jewelry, glass, gem stones, precious metals, art, fashion, and any kind of material, creation, or adornment for the sake of beauty.
2021-05-01 00:28
The name Fanny or Fannie is of French and Latin origin. In Latin it means from France. In French it means free. It can be derived from the Spanish name Estefany (Stephanie) which means crown… Read More
2021-04-28 23:52
Pure abstract art is art where there are no figures that look the way people and objects look to the human eye. Until the invention of the camera in the 19th Century, art was the only way th… Read More
2021-04-15 15:42
The Earth Woman is an American silent film made in 1926. The film was produced by Dorothy Davenport and directed by Walter Lang. It can not now be seen because it has apparently been lost. T… Read More
2021-04-10 15:30
Although cuff bracelets date back to ancient times, fabric cuffs began in Europe during the Renaissance for the purpose of preventing the edge of shirt sleeves from fraying.The metal cuff br… Read More
2021-04-06 16:00
Glassmaking is believed to have begun about 5,000 years ago in the Middle East, perhaps in Mesopotamia. Some think glass was discovered as a by-product of making metal which had origina… Read More
2021-03-29 14:38
Metal working means shaping metals into useful objects (artistic as well as functional). The earliest metalworking was probably from around 5000 BCE and the first metals were probably copper… Read More
2021-03-27 19:28
Cuff bracelets date back to ancient times when it was often worn by nobility as a sign of social status. Pharoahs were depicted wearing cuffs in ancient pictures. Romans wore cuffs. In… Read More
2021-03-24 04:59
The Amazon women in Greek mythology were supposed to be a community of women warriors who only kept men around for breeding. They were said to live at the southern coast of the Black Sea. In… Read More
2021-03-17 15:23
The Black Lives Matter movement protests racially motivated killing of Black Americans. Such killings in many cases have been facilitated by the gun anarchy that exists in our country. The m… Read More
2021-03-09 16:07
Millions of years ago of years ago, the earth began as gases spun off from the sun which cooled to form a core. As the earth cooled further, it formed an outer crust on which we now live. Fr… Read More
2021-03-07 15:09
The number 9 is more than 8 and less than 10. Nine is the square of 3. That means if you multiply 3 times 3 you get nine. Nine is the highest single digit number. In some forms of mysticism… Read More
2021-03-05 14:55
The name Barbara is of Geek origin and means “stranger.” It was popular for newborns in America in the first half of the 20th Century but has declined recently. It is still popul… Read More
2021-03-04 00:45
Cleopatra VII was part of the Ptolemy royal family of Egypt during Roman times. The Ptolemies were descendants of Macedonians who ruled Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great. Cleopatr… Read More
2021-03-01 15:24
The name Greta is the diminutive of Margareta and is of German and Scandinavian origin. It means pearl. Famous women with the name Greta include Greta Garbo who was a famous Swedish American… Read More
2021-02-27 15:59
The name Octavia is of Latin origin and means the eighth. It was used to name the eighth daughter in the days when large families were popular. A number of women in Roman noble families were… Read More
2021-02-26 15:25
The name Naomi is of Hebrew origin meaning pleasant. Naomi in the Bible was an Israelite woman who migrated with her husband and son to Moab. While in Moab, Naomi’s son married a Moabi… Read More
2021-02-25 16:44
The Garden of Eden is mentioned in the Book of Genesis in the Bible as well as elsewhere. It is described as an idyllic place where the first humans, Adam and Eve, lived with immortality unt… Read More
2021-02-21 00:36
The name Brianna is of Irish origin. It means strong, virtuous and honorable.The fashion fish bead pictured above is named Brianna Bluefish and can be found on the Beadshaper web site at BRI… Read More
2021-02-18 16:10
Goldfish are yellow and orange mutations of carp that have been bred for at least one thousand years, beginning in China because of their attractive color. At first they were kept in ponds a… Read More
2021-02-17 16:00
Colegia in Ancient Rome were associations of craftsmen who did the same kind of work and banded together to promote their common interests. The colegia were precursors of the guilds that cam… Read More
2021-02-15 15:45
Venus in Roman mythology is the goddess of love and beauty. She is the Roman equivalent of the earlier Greek goddess, Aphrodite. According to Roman mythology, she is the daughter of Jupiter… Read More
2021-02-14 15:36
Although a ring can be adorned with any shape to enhance its beauty, the part that makes it a ring is the circle that fits on a finger. The ring shape has great philosophical significance in… Read More
2021-02-13 23:50
The name Brenda is believed to be a feminine form of the Old Nordic name Bredr which means torch and sword. It dates back to the medieval time when the northern islands of Britain were ruled… Read More
2021-02-12 15:43
Delilah was the temptress who caused the downfall of Samson in the Book of Judges in the Bible. In the story of Samson and Delilah, Samson was a leader of the ancient Israelis who were at wa… Read More
2021-02-11 16:09
Helen of Troy was a mythological beautiful woman whose beauty and desirability resulted in the Trojan War. According to the story, Helen had numerous suitors but married Menelaus, the Greek… Read More
2021-02-10 16:01
Bathsheba in the Bible was the mistress and later wife of King David. According to the story, Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah, a soldier in King David's army. David was taken with Baths… Read More
2021-02-09 15:35
Adornment with flowers goes back to ancient times. The ancient Egyptians  depicted some of their gods as wearing plumed headdresses. The ancient Greeks and Romans wore flowers in their… Read More
2021-02-08 15:43
The word bling can be used to describe bright, shiny, or flashy jewelry. The term began with rappers, probably beginning in the 1960s, although more so in the 1980s. Some believe it originat… Read More
2021-02-07 15:36
Most human endeavors, including art, serve some function. The prehistoric pictograms found on rocks and caves show people and animals and tell a story. Medieval European paintings showe… Read More
2021-02-06 16:45
 The word crochet comes from the French word for hook. Crochet is a method of weaving strands of material into patterns. It differs from needlework in that crochet uses one hook and nee… Read More
2021-02-05 15:59
The color white is the complete presence of the color spectrum. It combines all the colors except black which is the absence of color. A white object appears white because it reflects a… Read More
2021-02-04 15:48
Did you know that the name Russian comes from Scandinavia. During the Middle Ages, the Viking influence extended eastward into what is now the Ukraine. A Viking tribe called the Russ took ad… Read More
2021-02-04 00:56
Fashion in ancient Greece varied according to location and time period. The Greeks liked loose fitting clothing. During the earlier ancient times, women draped fabric around them. In the lat… Read More
2021-02-02 15:51
The color purple is a mixture of blue and red. The earliest purple dyes came from Phoenicia about 4000 years ago and were extracted from certain shell fish. The purple dyes were very expensi… Read More
2021-01-31 16:27
 The custom of giving gifts goes back to prehistoric times. In the ancient world gifts were customarily given to kings and emperors by lesser nobles to show their loyalty. These gifts (… Read More
2021-01-30 16:09
Carnival is a holiday that goes back to the Middle Ages. It began in Italy and quickly spread to other Roman Catholic communities, first in Europe and then to Europe's colonies. In that way… Read More
2021-01-29 16:01
Venetian glass making began in the 8th Century, and subsequently Venice became the glass making center of Europe during the Middle Ages. Venetian merchant ships traveled to all the great gla… Read More
2021-01-28 16:22
The classic English garden began at the beginning of the 18th Century. It was essentially a park consisting of rolling green grassy fields with clumps of trees and one or more bodies of wate… Read More
2021-01-27 16:37
William Harvey demonstrated that the heart is a pump that drives the blood to circulate around the body, and that is what is scientifically known today. Emotions come from the brai… Read More
2021-01-26 16:07
The use of fragrant aromas goes back thousands of years. They were first used in religious practices in the form of burning incense that produced a pleasant scent. Incense burning began in M… Read More
2021-01-25 15:26
Prehistoric necklaces were often made of bones and shells on a string. Gold necklaces appeared in Mesopotamia about 2500 BC and stones were added around 2000 BC. Gold collars were worn by we… Read More
2021-01-24 16:46
The color black is the absence of light. It is the color of the night. A black objects absorbs all the light it receives and reflects none of it back to the eye of the beholder. Black has be… Read More
2021-01-23 16:39
Plants have been producing flowers for millions of years as evidenced by flowers found in fossils producing natural flower designs. Prehistoric cave art usually depicted animals rather than… Read More
2021-01-22 16:35
The Earth apparently began about 4 ½ billion years ago and was probably original hot gas at that time. It was then molten as it was cooling down, then a solid crust with liquid water… Read More
2021-01-21 16:39
Henry David Thoreau wrote a book in 1854, “Walden Pond,” concerning his two year stay in a cabin on the edge of Walden Pond in Massachusetts. In that book he wrote:  &n&hell…Read More
2021-01-20 16:41
The fruit and the color orange spread centuries ago from India through the Middle East to Europe. Orange, a city in southern France received its name because of the orange trade that occurre… Read More
2021-01-19 15:58
Embossing is the art of pressing a pattern into metal and has been performed since ancient times. Patina refers to a colored coating that develops on the surface of a metal exposed to corros… Read More
2021-01-17 15:49
The color green is a blend of the basic colors yellow and blue. It is the color of chlorophyll which is found in plants and has therefore been associated with life by various cultures. For e… Read More
2021-01-16 16:26
The name Gwendolyn is of Welsh origin. In the original Welsh it is spelled Gwendolen. Gwendolen is the spelling of the name of Merlin’s wife in the King Arthur legends. Gwendolyn is th… Read More
2021-01-15 16:54
The English adjective heavenly has 3 definitions. It can mean in the sky the sky, or religiously in a place where human souls go after death, or it can mean anything wonderful. The Hebrew wo… Read More
2021-01-14 16:31
 Mica is a mineral found in igneous and other rocks which is resistant to heat and electricity and has both industrial and decorative uses. It has been used as gem stones as pictured in… Read More
2021-01-13 19:57
Valentine’s Day is named for a Catholic saint named Valentine. It is unclear who Valentine was. One legend is that the Roman empire at one point in time forbade young men to marry beca… Read More
2021-01-13 00:19
Betty is a nickname for Elizabeth. Elizabeth is the English version of the Hebrew name Elisheva. El means God. Sheva means oath. So it means an oath pledged to God. Many well known women hav… Read More
2021-01-10 16:15
Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin was concerned about the deteriorating condition of the Earth in the 1960s. A large oil spill in 1969 off the coast of Santa Barbara, California promoted t… Read More
2021-01-09 19:59
The name Olivia is of Latin origin and means olive or olive tree. It was the name of an aristocratic woman in Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night and has remained a popular name since the… Read More
2021-01-08 16:12
The name Eartha is of English origin and refers to the earth (or ground). It was found among the Puritans. The most famous personality in recent history with that name was the singer Eartha… Read More
2021-01-07 16:19
 In Greek mythology Athena is a goddess who represents knowledge, judgment, urbanity, strength, and military prowess. The City of Athens is said to be named after Athena (or maybe the o… Read More
2021-01-06 16:25
The name Zoe is of Geek origin and means life. It is the same as the Hebrew name Hava (Eve). Zoe was the name of a Byzantine empress in the 11th Century. You can read more about the name Zoe… Read More
2021-01-05 16:31
The name Rhonda is of Welsh origin and in the Welsh language means “good lance.” The name also might have originated from the River Rhondda which flows through South Wales. Accor… Read More
2021-01-04 16:01
Midnight, as you would expect, is the middle of the night (12:00, after 11:59 PM and before 12:01 AM). Some people would write midnight as 12:00 AM and others would say only 12:00 without an… Read More
2021-01-03 16:43
Ripples are small subtle waves in water. Ripples can be seen on a lake when there is slight breeze. They can also be seen when a pebble is thrown into the water. You can read more about wate… Read More
2021-01-02 15:56
Green technology is technology that promotes obtaining energy from renewable resources and avoids squandering the non-renewable resources of the earth. It also promotes technology that does… Read More
2021-01-01 20:21
Happy New Year! The lampwork glass beads on the earrings pictured above represent the hope of the new year 2021. The tragedy of the COVID pandemic of 2020 will not magically and suddenly dis… Read More
2020-12-29 20:15
Trumpets have existed since ancient times. The first trumpets were animal horns (before the invention of metals). The first metal trumpets did not have valves and were limited in the variety… Read More
2020-12-26 17:03
The Copper Age occurred from around 5000 BC to around 3000 BC and was the bridge from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age. Excavations indicate that it must have begun in Southeas… Read More
2020-12-25 16:57
In Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance dots on clothing were considered impurities and associated with uncleanliness and disease (reminiscent of the dots seen in smallpox and other… Read More
2020-12-25 01:35
Druzy (also can be spelled drusy) is a group of crystals embedded in the surface of a stone. The color of the crystals varies depending on which mineral has formed to make the crystals. Druz… Read More
2020-12-24 01:50
A tassel is a cluster of strands of any material hanging from an object. Tassels have been known since ancient times. According to the Hebrew Bible, God commanded the Hebrews (via Moses) to… Read More
2020-12-21 20:17
Pi is a factor which is used to calculate the circumference of a circle if you know the diameter or to calculate the diameter if you know the circumference. Pi is approximately 3.14. If you… Read More
2020-12-20 19:58
Bracelets date back to prehistoric times when bones, shells, seeds, pieces of wood, and stones were strung on cords of plant material. These beads were often thought to have protective power… Read More
2020-12-19 01:54
A bail in jewelry is a loop which can connect 2 parts of a jewelry piece. In a pendant necklace it is at the top of the pendant or at the bottom of the necklace. The earliest known image of… Read More
2020-12-13 16:53
Fish scales were used in primitive times because of their availability (byproducts of cleaning fish for eating) and beauty (shiny and at times colorful). The whole fish as a symbol originate… Read More
2020-12-09 02:07
It has been known since ancient times that wine that is stored over time has to be protected from the air to prevent spoilage by oxygenation. The ancient Egyptians used clay to seal their wi… Read More
2020-11-24 01:58
Life began in the sea billions of years ago. The first living things were bits of material that had the ability to reproduce themselves. Over time they evolved into organized groups of livin… Read More
2020-07-30 00:54
The Sumerian civilization which existed from about 8000 B.C. to about 2000 B.C. is considered the first civilization in the world although much less sophisticated in the first 3000 years. Ci… Read More
2020-07-13 15:46
Beads have been used in trade for centuries, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. “Amber" beads are highly prized in certain African cultures as status symbols. They are often i… Read More
2020-07-13 15:21
Ancient diamond mines existed in India which were the main source of diamonds at that time. The origin of diamond cutting to transform a rough diamond stone into a jewel is unclear, but the… Read More
2020-03-22 15:37
BEAD TRADE IN THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE CHICAGO AREABeads were used in early trading by the Native American communities in Illinois and the Chicago area. Before the arrival of Europeans, bead… Read More
2020-02-02 16:42
Crystals have been found in prehistoric graves and were known in ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and India as well as among early Native Americans. The earliest crystals occurre… Read More
2020-01-16 16:43
What was fashionable for women in Viking times? The evidence for fashion in Viking times comes from what was said in the Viking sagas and from archeologic examination of Viking graves. Altho… Read More
2019-12-10 20:16
In early prehistoric times, people were self sufficient. Each family obtained its own food by hunting, gathering, and later farming. Each person or family made their own tools, vessels, or w… Read More
2019-07-14 00:40
An English chemist named William Hyde Wollaston was the first person to isolate rhodium. He received some ore from South America and extracted platinum and palladium from it. That left a dar… Read More
2017-01-11 16:19
Viking Knit is a technique for making wire wrap jewelry that is reminiscent of chainmail. Chainmail was a type of protective clothing worn by soldiers in battle in the Middle Ages. It consis… Read More
2016-08-25 01:42
Hi Friends,Last week was a really exciting week. I presented my work at the Bead and Design Show in Costa Mesa, California. I also taught classes there including a class in making … Read More
2016-03-26 15:32
Blue was once considered a hot color but is now considered a cool color. It is found in the flags of many countries and is the color of blue jeans. In the Turkish culture it is the color of… Read More
2016-03-23 20:19
Red is one of the 3 basic colors. It is the color of blood and for that reason has been associated with the origin of life going back to prehistoric times. Prehistoric cave painters used red… Read More
2016-03-19 16:37
GREEN COLOR The color green is a blend of the basic colors yellow and blue. It is the color of chlorophyll which is found in plants and has therefore been associated with life by various cul… Read More
2016-03-14 00:37
Beryl is a gem which contains the element beryllium. The name is derived from the ancient Greek word beryllos. Pure beryl is clear but there are varieties with various ranges of color. Emera… Read More
2015-06-24 04:04
This is a complicated story, but one with great political effect in 18th Century France. King Louis XV commissioned a very expensive diamond necklace from the jewelers, Boehmer and Bassenge… Read More
2015-06-19 15:33
Cubic Zirconia is a synthetic material that looks like and feels like diamond, but is less expensive. Baddeleyite, the natural precursor of zirconia was first discovered in 1892. Pure natura… Read More
2015-06-04 15:15
Beaded Clothing Embroidering clothing with beads goes back to prehistoric times. A fossil of a Cro-Magnon man from 30,000 B.C was excavated in Russia. His fur clothing was beaded with ivory… Read More
Lapis Lazuli
2015-06-01 14:58
Lapis lazuli is a rare opaque blue stone. The darker the blue, the greater the quality. The word lapis comes from the Latin word for stone. Lazuli means blue and comes from Sanskrit by way o… Read More
2015-05-30 21:26
Pendants were among the earliest forms of jewelry. A copper pendant believed to have been made in Sumeria, the first civilization, around 8700 B.C. has been found by archaeologists. In Babyl… Read More
Crystals To Rhinestones
2015-05-25 15:41
Crystals have been found in prehistoric graves and were known in ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and India as well as among early Native Americans. The earliest crystals occurre… Read More
2015-05-24 18:37
Beads have been used for religious purposes and for purposes related to superstition. Although the line between the two can sometimes be fuzzy, I would define religion as a belief in a deity… Read More
2015-05-23 17:18
Beads have been involved in trade going back to prehistoric times. Excavations at Skhul in Israel found 100,000 year old small shells that were used as decorative beads. The location of the… Read More
2015-05-20 17:41
Onyx was popular with the Ancient Greeks and Romans. The Greek Onyx was of a number of colors, but the Romans used the word to refer only to the black variety (which is what we usually call… Read More
2015-05-17 15:28
Fish can be found in the mythologies of various cultures all over the world. In the Mythology of the Celts and other Btitish Islanders, the salmon has been associated with wisdom. In ancient… Read More

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