Monday, January 19, 2015

Creating a Nomad Style Necklace from Old Silver and Vintage Beads

Note the vintage bakelite toggle clasp on this brilliantly colored Middle Eastern Nomad style necklace.  I call it a fascinating fastener.

Old Yemen Silver Wheel Bead with Coral, Amber, Bone Beaded Necklace

$78.00 U. S.  CONTACT ME for invoice or more information through the message form above left.

Here is a closeup view of the Yemen wheel bead: 

In making this necklace I raided a pile of old butterscotch and egg yolk amber resin beads that I had collected over time.  But this necklace demanded more beads and more of a variety due to the importance of the focal bead. It is an old Yemen silver alloy bead made in the standard granulation style. Tiny beads of silver are dropped onto a wire or solid background metal in rows or in patterns. The small beads made in this way are called Bedihi or berry beads, while these larger diameter granulated beads like this one are called wheel beads. They resemble a lugged tire.  

This one is large enough that it needed large decorative beads to surround it. The Yemen silversmiths, along with the desert nomads, preferred two kinds of beads to string with their silver creations: coral and amber. When the old natural frankincense amber became too expensive for them to string with their beautiful silver, they turned to the modern imitations of amber coming from Europe and North Africa. For a long while the Mediterranean natural coral remained available to them.  

Unfortunately, the Mediterranean coral beads are very scarce and expensive at present. For this piece, I decided to use the dyed natural coral from the Pacific which is naturally much paler and grows thicker branches than the old Mediterranean type. I chose for the foil against which the silver, amber resin and coral would play a handful of my tray of dyed bone beads, shaped by hand and quite at home in a nomadic style of necklace such as this one.  

The necklace contains three antique Yemen silver beads, four of the Pacific coral beads and 27 bone beads. The remainder of the beads, including the fastener are made of vintage amber resin beads.  

Necklace length - 26 inches (66 cm)
Wheel bead dimensions - 25 mm diam. x 16 mm wide (1 in x 0.63 in )

$78.00 U. S.  CONTACT ME for invoice or more information through the message form above left.