Banded Agates

Banded Agate necklace made with a pendant I bought on ebay in 2004 for £3 I think. This is my own necklace which I love but I will restring it as the flat agate pendant needs to be worn over clothes ideally as the pendant will 'stick' to skin making it hang rather wierdly!

Some assorted agates from Afghanistan 

More banded agate pendants from antique arts asia

More banded agate pendants from antique arts asia

Marvelous Mali

Mali in Africa is the place to find lovely jewel coloured trade beads such as the 'light bulb' or Czec 'wedding beads' which come on  rainbow strands with each bead being a different colour and pattern including striped and swirled designs.

czechapril.jpg

Timbukto was at the centre of the nation and was the main trading post for West Africa.

This is what African Trade Beads say about bohemian glass beads-many of which are found in Mali.

"The three centuries of the Czech / Bohemian glass bead industry stem from the expertise of their stone cutters, working with bright red garnets in and around the Bohemian village of Turnov, in today's Czech Republic. Development of glassmaking began in the early 1700's to compete with the Venetians, who had started to produce less expensive translucent red glass and depress the genuine garnet market."



photo from  http://moroccanmaryam.typepad.com/

photo from  http://moroccanmaryam.typepad.com/

Sometimes I see something that is just beyond my patience and this lovely necklace is made by an African jewellery designer who raises money to support orphans so look at her very complicated necklace design

If I was asked to create something like this it would be fascinating but a major undertaking and I would need to allow about 8-12 hours1

Firstly I would thread at least 20 strands of small African glass beads .I like the use of white beads here but another bright colour like red or turquoise would work too.After all of the threads were done and laid out on my work table I would start the twisting of the strands and would finally attach the strands to one or more button type fastenings.The other ends could be looped over each other to make a closure.

As I say not easy but how fantastic to be able to produce something as beautiful as this.

The best thread to use would be a c-lon thread which is easy to secure by applying heat to the ends of the knots rather than glue,which I hate as even with the tiny tubes I find glue comes out too quickly.I can solve this issue  by using a pin or a cocktail stick  but I still prefer the heat sealing method.

Amazonite

When I was travelling around Ghana buying beads I came across some traders from Mali who had the most amazing collections of old Amazonite beads.The prices for these strands was a bit more than I had to spend so in the end I didn't buy any but I could kick myself now as the ones I have seen online are so lovely I would love to have them.

These gorgeous amazonite beads vary in shade from earthy tones to duck egg blue -for sale on this etsy site;  lostcitiesbeads

These gorgeous amazonite beads vary in shade from earthy tones to duck egg blue -for sale on this etsy site;lostcitiesbeads

Amazonite is a type of green felspar.

"Also known as "green feldspar", these amazonite beads are some of the oldest and rarest beads we carry. Because of it's greatly admired and sought after blue/green tones, Egyptians used this stone for thousands of years, as did many tribal African peoples. Most of these beads were re-discovered in Mauritanian and Malian digs but have also been found in India and Egypt. A very conservative estimate of age for these beads is 2,000 years old, but amazonite beads have been known to be dated at 4,000 B.C. or older in Indian digs where the beads were visually identical to beads found in Africa"

 http://lostcitiesbeads.com/ancientamazonite.html

My own Amazonite bracelet with faceted beads and a mossy agate bead in the centre  £38 in my  etsy shop

My own Amazonite bracelet with faceted beads and a mossy agate bead in the centre  £38 in my etsy shop

http://www.africajohns.com/ancient for a good selection of stone beads -in the US but does world wide shipping

ancient amazonite beads from

a short strand of dark and light amazonite beads

A very blue strand of amazonites from African trade beads