Monday, May 26, 2014

Orphan Beads Find a Home

Antique Famous Bawsani Silver Filigree Bead 

by Yemenite Silversmith

Using components from older jewelry is no new enterprise.  From ancient times, later settlers moved onto the rubble of previous communities and picked up the stones and other baubles made by the people of the vanished culture and made adornments from them.  Pieces of obsidian, polished agate eye beads, animal tooth ivory and carved bones and shells were gathered on a string and became a kind of wealth for the finder.

Modern artisans can easily follow the tradition.  My own collection of valuable orphan beads and pendants comes from Yemen, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.  Yemen pieces have become extremely rare in these times, because (1)  there was a limited amount of such jewelry left behind in Yemen when the Jewish silversmiths moved to Israel in the 1940s and (2) the political situation at present is so unstable that it is difficult to carry on international commerce.  Here is one of the famous Bawsani beads that I salvaged from a Yemen dress yoke that had become so ragged that the beads were falling from it.

Antique Famous Bawsani Silver Filigree Bead by Yemenite Silversmith

These old beads from vanished cultures such as the Yemenite communities of Jewish artisans can be used to great effect in modern creations.  I can offer an example of an orphan bead that I have used in a contemporary design of a necklace here: 

Antique Yemen Silver Bead on Amber and Turquoise Stone Beaded Necklace

There are two sections of my online studio/shop that show orphan stones, shells, glass, resin and metalwork beads from antique times and from ancient ages.  Among the complete jewelry designs there, you will also see the orphan components that have become separated from their original adornments.  Enjoy a browse through my collection of the antiques from Yemen and Turkmenia and my collection of ancient artifacts from Bactria.  

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