Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Treasures from Ilha de Moçambique

I just got a shipment of antique trade beads from Mozambique Island (thanks to my friend A for being the courier) and I couln't be more excited. I love sorting the strands, identifying the different beads and dreaming up new designs. These beads are incredible - on any one strand there can be an assortment of 400-year-old Hebron beads made in Palestine using salt from the Dead Sea as an alkali, 500-year-old carnelian agate beads from India, 150-year-old Islamic prayer beads, 300-year-old Venitian, Bohemian and Dutch glass beads...it's like a treasure chest.

I'm currently working on some designs for Spring that mix strands of the tiny trade beads with gemstones and big, silver flowers made by Thai Hill Tribes artisans. Can't wait to launch the collection!

3 comments:

rainbowlens said...

You've posted that picture before, right? I love those bracelets. I'm a fan of multi-colored stuff so those are right up my alley.

Can't wait to see the new stuff!

-Gem

Eliza Evans said...

So pretty! How can you tell where the beads come from?

Ali la Loca said...

~Rainbowlens - Yes, I have posted that photo before. It's one of my faves, full of color. I am going to photograph my new stock of beads once my photo-day rolls around next week (trying to be organized and purposeful about my work these days!).

~Eliza - Lots and lots of research. It depends on color, the way the glass is formed (wound, cut from tubes, etc.), the material if it's not glass and any visible patterns. I've logged many hours of internet research and looking through bead encyclopedias. It's actually quite fun (for me, at least).