See Beadshaper Gallery for fabulous fashionable hand crafted jewelry.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Purpose of Beads and Stones

Beads and stones have been used by humans for various purposes since prehistoric times. Most importantly they have been worn for adornment. Early on, they were strung on reeds or any string-like material to form necklaces and bracelets. Later they were set in metal jewelry when precious metals became available. In some cultures, beads and stones worn in jewelry have been a symbol of status.

Various beads and stones were assigned value in prehistoric and ancient times which allowed them to be used as the first currency used in trade. This has continued to varying degrees in various cultures. With advancement in the production of glass beads in Venice and later in other parts of Europe, glass beads became important in trade with Africa and the New World. Lampwork glass beads are still valued depending on their beauty and quality. Precious and semi-precious stones today still have special value all over the world according to their beauty and rarity.

Some people believe that certain stones have mystical qualities and that they can ward off evil. This concept is of course not shared by everyone.

Strings of beads are used in certain Christian, Moslem, and Hindu sects in prayer.

Beautiful lampwork glass beads and jewelry featuring glass beads and semi-precious stones are presented at Beadshaper

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Purpose of Art

The most obvious purpose of art is for the enjoyment of the observer (viewer or listener). Art can bring forth emotions that prose or simple function might not. Art presents beauty. However what is beautiful to one person, might not be beautiful to another. Sometimes the line between beauty and ugliness can be fuzzy. Art since early times has been a vehicle for expressing religious ideas, but can also be used for expressing social or any kind of ideas. Art can be used to make functional articles also beautiful. Art has been used to commemorate events, great or personal (for example a family photograph). Jewelry is a form of art which enhances the beauty and self image of the person wearing it.
To see the Beadshaper's artistic creations see

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Gift Giving

We are now in the holiday season when gift giving is in vogue. People have been giving gifts since the beginning of civilization and even earlier. Gifts can be given by the giver to show respect for the receiver. In an ancient Sumerian story, "The Death of Urnamma", the King who has died gives gifts to the gods of the Underworld to appease them and make his future more pleasant. The concept of giving a gift as a show of love has been popular since ancient times. In the story of "Faust", Faust seduces Margarita by giving her jewels. Giving gifts can be an expression of friendship. Gifts can be given for philanthropy. Gift giving can raise the status of the gift giver in some cultures. Giving gifts can sometimes be done simply because it is expected.
You can find some fantastic jewelry gifts handcrafted by the Beadshaper for your friends, relatives, or special person at

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Education in Ancient Greece


Education in ancient Greece varied from one city state to another. It also varied according to the class of the student. Education was mainly for boys and not girls or slaves.
In the city state of Sparta, boys stayed with their mothers until the age of 4 years, and then were taken to live with men and given an education which would prepare them for the army. The art of dancing was encouraged to develop physical strength. In the city state of Athens, education was intended to produce well rounded men and included literature, all kinds of arts, as well as sciences (as they were known in those days).
The necklace with lampwork glass beads shown in the above picture was hand crafted by the Beadshaper . Rose was a public school teacher before she retired and became a glass bead and jewelry artist.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Modern dichroic glass is made by depositing layers of metallic oxides onto glass in a vacuum chamber. These layers act like prisms to refract light making an irridescence. Lampwork artists incorporate bits of dichroic glass into their glass beads to create dichroic accents.
The earliest forms of dichroic-like materials occurred as natural phenomena going back to prehistoric times. The first man made dichroic-like glass was created in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia by fusing glass. The modern dichroic process was first developed in the 20th Century for use in photography and in the aerospace industry. Later, in the 1990s, glass artists became aware of it and began using it in glass art because of its beauty. Since then it has become one of the most popular modalities for accenting glass beads.

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Beads and Religion

Beads have been involved in religion for millenia. The English word "bead" is derived from the old Anglo-Saxon prayer or request (as in the German word "bitte"). Archeologists have found glass beads in the graves of early Medieval Anglo-Saxon graves. The earliest religion to have used beads extensively appears to have been Hinduism from which the use of prayer beads passed to the other major Eastern religion Buddhism . Hindu and Buddhist prayer beads are called mala. They are often in strands of 108 beads representing the 108 obstacles one must overcome to reach Nirvana or Heaven or Enlightenment. In some religious groups, only monks use 108 beads while lay people use only 30-40 because less is required of them. Devotees of the Hindu god Shiva use beads made of a particular seed. Devotees of the Hindu god Vishnu use carved wooden beads. Buddhist beads were originally made of seeds and wood from the bodhi tree but subsequently have become made of various materials as Buddhism has spread to various countries. Later in the early Middle Ages the use of beads in prayer spread to Islam and Christianity. Islamic prayer beads are known as subha (from the Arabic word for "exalt"). Each strand of Roman Catholic prayer beads is known as a rosary because the rose in Roman Catholicism represents perfection. Interestingly, Judaism does not use prayer beads. Judaism does use cloth fringes on the corners of prayer shawls, but this comes from the Bible directly and is not related to the bead tradition.

You can see various glass beads handcrafted by the Beadshaper at