Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Beading in High Fashion and Everyday Wear


Beads hold ancient roots, and their cultural significance can be traced to their early use in bartering. Beads served as a primitive currency, and they still retain their value today. In modern times they are found in the form of decoration as jewelry, rather than money.

In ancient days, people fashioned beads from a variety of materials. Early materials ranged from fish bones to teeth. As cultures grew increasingly sophisticated, so did the beads, techniques and materials with which they were created.

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Today, beads are mostly used in jewelry making, textile embellishment and in the fashion industry. To yield a more "designer look," crafters often choose glass lamp-work beads over plastic buttons in garments. Costume jewelers and makers of "fine jewelry" utilize a diversity of beads, which vary in intricacy of design. This adds a look of quality and uniqueness to their work.

Fine jewelry houses predominantly use precious and semi-precious gemstone beads; the costume jewelry industry more often uses beads made of plastic, acrylic, wood and glass. Skilled artists can use the inherent versatility and wide range of designs, manipulating beads in many ways to create their pieces. Endless stringing combinations and a plethora of cuts and finishes ensures that beaded jewelry needs never look dull, boring or dated.

Recently, the home crafts market has seen an explosion in the use and sale of beads. For example, they used to serve exclusively as small, detailed embellishments for needle work projects. The last decade, however, has seen a surge of interest in beads. Accordingly, craft project hobbies (a.k.a. making classic jewelry, beaded candle holders, curtains, and wind charms) have also enjoyed increased popularity.


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