Thursday, October 27, 2016

Let me count the ways.....

How do I love thee...... (my focal/ancient beads)
           And how do I wear thee .....?
           Let me count the ways.....

 focal ancient beads suitable for making into bracelets

Most beadcollectors like to wear their beads (focal or otherwise) as necklaces but I choose to wear mine as bracelets.  Perhaps the real reason is not so much my unlovely neck (although that is part reason) as that I cannot manage to string together a decent necklace.... too long for me to handle ....lack the so much easier to put together a simple bracelet on an elastic cord and presto I can have my fix !

Some examples :

Biconical amethyst focal bead with truncated biconical crystals

Flat six sided faceted crystal with old green and white glass beads
Top bracelet: Square tube focal turquoise with old coral
beads and two small turquoise flanking beads one carved
in the shape of a yuan bao, the other of a bird
Bottom: Flat oval turquoise bead with cloud  carving 
pattern likely to be from China's Warring state period.
The filler beads are old blue and white glass  melons.

My simplistic bands focus on well, a focal ancient bead strung with plain old filler beads which may or may not be ancient. Pearls in particular make good supporting beads for my projects. Their neutral white color blends well with ancient beads.

Below I show off the  round white pearls I inherited from my Mum (vintage around 70 years) and they have been teamed up with two flat ancient beads.  Focal bead on left is an ancient nephrite tubular bead with 6 facets,  while   on right  the dark red diamond shaped carnelian is from Vietnam's Sa Huynh culture (100 BC-200AD)
Pearls make good companions for ancient focal beads

Freshwater pearls are cheap, comes in an assortment of hues and I use them without fail  to combine  with focal ancient beads.

Fresh water pearls

The gemstone  faceted  tubular bead shown below, likely from Pyu dynasty (100BC-840AD) is a  lovely sapphire blue, am hoping its one :) mixes well with these wee white freshwater pearls.
Sapphire color but is it sapphire ??

Next I've highlighted a rose quartz elephant with pink freshwater pearls. The rose quartz elephant bead is likely to be stuff from Pyu dynasty.
rose quartx elephant flanked by rosy fresh water pearls
Another arrangement with pink freshwater pearls is this  bracelet featuring four focal, blue gemstone  beads, again Pyu dynasty  likely.  The stones are in the most wonderful hues of blue. I am guessing and hoping, aquamarine, blue topaz or blue quartz. All are hand faceted.

favourite bracelet with four focal beads in shades of blue

An unusual ivory or bone (I'm not sure which) grooved tube bead which I interpret as representing  an  elephant is nicely matched with old white coral beads from Sarawak, shown below.

Grooved tubular bead may represent a Pyu elephant
Another favourite of mine featuring a carnelian crown shaped bead which was previously part of a  Qing dynasty hairpin, shown below.  Beside the focal crown bead, the two flanking beads are also way interesting. The small faceted round bead on the right  measures only 0.5 cm is  decorated with  wavy bands that culminate in what looks like a pair of eyes, all courtesy of  nature. By contrast,  the round carnelian  bead on the left is decorated with  a basket ball pattern etched my man thousands of years ago. Some old coral beads act as fillers to this winsome threesome.

Focal crown bead and two flanking carnelian beads make a winsome threesome.
 Here are close ups of the 2 small carnelians.

decorated by Nature
etched by man

No doubt my "creations" are not  really remarkable but still they serve me well. With more than a dozen bracelets at my disposal I get to enjoy a different focal bead each day.

Below are another few more examples :

3 bracelets with focal beads


Focal venetian tube bead with floral design
Early tubular turquoise bead with round pearls
And last, my killer trapezoidal bead with phoenix pattern and red Xizhou  (1027-771BC) carnelian disc beads.

the nonpareil phoenix



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Favourite Books

  • Theft : a love story
  • The Uncommon Reader
  • The Silent Patient
  • Never Let me go
  • Angela's Angels
  • Where angels fear to tread