With such a tremendous variety of handmade treasures to explore, Novica brings to you the Art Expert, a series of detailed informational columns designed to help you expertly tour your way through the wide, wonderful world of fine arts and home décor!
 
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Beads & other materials

 

Throughout the ages, jewelry has been designed in a wide variety of beautiful and alluring materials. Texture, as well as color and style, has typically played an important role.

 

Natural fibers

Natural fibers and cloth have been used in jewelry throughout history. Stones and beads of all sorts, leather, shell, feather, wood, even seeds and berries.

 

Lacquered jewelry

Dating back to ancient China, exquisite lacquer jewelry can now be found in many regions of the world, especially Asia, India, and Europe.

 

Dried flower jewelry

Fresh and dried flowers may have been among the first ornaments to grace the human body. Today, exquisite dried flower jewelry is available, some of the finest designs handmade in Thailand.

 

Beads

Beads are believed to be the most ancient of personal adornments. A recent (2004) archeological discovery of beads - 41 tiny, perforated mollusk shells found in a cave in South Africa - may prove that humans began adorning themselves as far back as 75,000 years ago (30,000 years earlier than previously believed).

In many regions of the world, beads have been used as monetary instruments. Christopher Columbus brought beads to the New World as gifts, and to facilitate trade. In some cultures, certain beads are believed to carry magic, protective powers.

In parts of Asia, especially Indonesia, nearly colorless bamboo, stone, wood, and horn beads are favored, often decorated with bright colors. Many native North and South Americans use extensive beadwork in belts, bracelets, and clothes.

Since the 10th Century, glass beads have been popular in areas of Russia, lavishly embroidered onto everything from furniture to purses.

Today, bead enthusiasts enjoy a vast array of bead materials to choose from. Click on the following links to view samples of currently popular bead styles:

 

African beads
Bamboo beads
Ceramic beads
Cloisonne beads
Crystal beads
Glass beads
Gemstone beads
Precious metal beads
Resin beads
Rough gem beads
Seed beads
Stone beads
Turquoise beads
Wood beads

 

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