See Beadshaper Gallery for fabulous fashionable hand crafted jewelry.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


The color puce is a purplish brown color. The name comes from the French name for flea because the color is supposed to be the color of a flea engorged with blood after feeding.This color was popular in dresses of ladies in France in the late 18th Century and into the 19th Century. At that time it was thought by some people in France to have a sensual flare. The color was thought by some to be a favorite of Marie Antoinette, but this has not been confirmed since there are no pictures of her wearing it. You can find the necklace pictured above at BEADSHAPER NECKLACES
You also might find it at the Beadshaper table at the Bead Elements and Design Show in Santa Barbara, October 30 - November 1, 2015. See SHOWS for details.                                      

Monday, September 28, 2015


Parvati, in Hindu mythology, is the goddess of love. According to the story, she fell in love with Shiva, the warrior god who was living in the mountains as an ascetic. So she also went to the mountains to live the ascetic life in order to win his attention. Eventually she caught his attention, and he was attracted by her great beauty. They left the ascetic life and became married. Because of Parvati, Shiva mellowed and became the god of the arts as well as the warrior god.
The bead in the picture is one of the Beadshaper's Fashion Fish beads named for the beautiful Parvati. You can find the bead at FASHION FISH.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Bracelets date back to prehistoric times when bones, shells, seeds, pieces of wood, and stones were strung on cords of plant material. These beads were often thought to have protective power for the person wearing them. The ancient Egyptians developed bracelets into elaborate jewelry pieces with precious stones attached to gold and silver. The Egyptians wore bracelets to show their status in society and believed that when they died they would be place in the proper place in the afterworld according to their jewelry. The Romans made very elaborate designs in the metal of their bracelets. In Medieval Europe, Christians adopted many pagan customs of their ancestors including the wearing of protective amulets on their bracelets to ward off evil spirits. Charm bracelets became popular in Victorian times for decorative rather than utilitarian purposes. The popularity of bracelets for beauty continues to today.

The bracelet pictured above can be purchased at Metal Jewelry Shaper.

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Amethyst is a purple quartz that was known to prehistoric people as evidenced by amethyst stones found in neolithic graves. The word comes from Greek and means without drunkeness. The ancient Greeks believed that drinking wine from an amethyst cup would prevent intoxication. Nobility from those of ancient Egypt to the more recent monarchs of 19th Century Europe wore amethyst jewelry. Its purple color is traditionally associated with royalty. Each of the 12 tribes of ancient Israel had its own stone. Amethyst was the stone of the tribe of Dan. The Christian clergy in Rennaisance times considered amethyst a sign of chastity and often wore amethyst rings.

The amethyst gems pictured above are part of a necklace that can be found at METAL JEWELRY SHAPER

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Affair of the Necklace

This is a complicated story, but one with great political effect in 18th Century France. King Louis XV commissioned a very expensive diamond necklace from the jewelers, Boehmer and Bassenge, for his mistress, Madame Du Barry. Louis the XV died before the necklace was completed and Madame Du Barry was removed from the scene. The jewelers then tried to sell it to the new king and queen, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, but they refused. Then along came a woman by the name of Jean de Saint-Remy de Valois whose claim to fame was that she was the daughter of the illegitimate son of an earlier French king. She became the mistress of Cardinal Rohan who aspired to become a minister of the king. Jean de Valois and her husband concocted a plot in which she duped Cardinal Rohan into arranging a fictitious purchase of the necklace by Queen Marie Antoinette without the queen's knowledge. Jean de Valois' husband took the necklace out of France where it was broken up and the parts were sold off for large sums of money. When the jewelers tried to collect their commission from the queen, she refused to pay saying she knew nothing about the fictitious sale. Cardinal Rohan and the other people involved in the affair were arrested and there was a sensational trial. Cardinal Rohan was eventually aquitted. The queen then lost favor with the people because she appeared to be frivolous. This ended up being one of a number of factors leading to the French Revolution.
The necklace in the picture is not the one in the Affair and is not diamond. You can find an assortment of necklaces at Beadshaper and at Metal Jewelry Shaper. You can also purchase Rose's necklaces at various art shows in California. See Classes and Shows for upcoming shows

Friday, June 19, 2015

Cubic Zirconia

Cubic Zirconia is a synthetic material that looks like and feels like diamond, but is less expensive. Baddeleyite, the natural precursor of zirconia was first discovered in 1892. Pure natural zirconia was discovered in 1937 by Stackelberg and Chudoba. The first attempts at synthesizing zirconia were made in France in the 1960s, but the method for the practical production of zirconia began in Russia in the 1970s. At first, its main use was in laser physics. Later it became used in jewelry as a less expensive substitute for diamonds.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Beaded Clothing

Beaded Clothing

Embroidering clothing with beads goes back to prehistoric times. A fossil of a Cro-Magnon man from 30,000 B.C was excavated in Russia. His fur clothing was beaded with ivory beads. Northern Chinese animal hide clothing containing embroidered shell beads dating from 5000 BC have been found. In ancient times the Egyptians embroidered beads made of quartz into their clothing. Clothes with beaded sleeves were found in an excavation in Central Asia of a Bactrian settlement of the first Century B.C. Beads were embroidered into religious clothing in Europe in the Middle Ages (from around 1100 A.D.). Later beginning in Renaissance times beaded embroidery became more common and elaborate in secular clothing. Beaded clothing was particularly popular in African and American Indian cultures. Beaded clothing was considered a symbol of royalty in many African cultures. In some African tribes from the 16th Century, the king would wear clothing made completely of beads. Beaded clothing, belts, and moccasins have been used by American Indian tribes for centuries. The beads used in making clothing were important items of trade in various cultures. The beads used for embroidery were usually made of shells, bones, or stones in prehistoric and early historic times, but with the invention of glass, that material became popular for sewing into clothing.

Would you like to sew beads into your clothing?
One focal bead sewn into your dress can make it unique. There is a focal bead gallery at BEADSHAPER . .

Monday, June 1, 2015

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis lazuli is a rare opaque blue stone. The darker the blue, the greater the quality. The word lapis comes from the Latin word for stone. Lazuli means blue and comes from Sanskrit by way of Persian to Arabic to Latin. It was first mined in the Indus Valley in what is now northern Afghanistan (known in ancient times as Bactria) around 7000 BC. Lapis from Afghanistan is still considered the finest quality even to this day. Lapis was subsequently traded to other places where it was prized for its beauty and rarity and available only to the nobility. Carvings made of lapis were found in burial tombs of the royalty of ancient Sumer, the first historical civilization in Mesopotamia. The ancient Egyptian royalty owned jewelry made of lapis which they imported from Bactria . They ground up lapis to make paint and cosmetics. Medieval artists also used lapis to make a bright blue color for their paintings.
The lapis ring pictured above can be found at METAL JEWELRY SHAPER

Monday, May 25, 2015

Crystals to Rhinestones

Crystals have been found in prehistoric graves and were known in ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and India as well as among early Native Americans. The earliest crystals occurred as natural stones but early civilizations began making artificial crystals by adding lead to glass to give it brilliance. George Ravenscroft improved this method of making crystals in 1676. Daniel Swarovski invented a machine to cut crystals in1892. He moved his crystal company to the Rhine River in Austria where he used the river for energy to run his machines. The crystals he made were called rhinestones after the Rhine River. Now the word rhinestone is used to refer to any small leaded crystal.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Beads, Religion, and Superstition

Beads have been used for religious purposes and for purposes related to superstition. Although the line between the two can sometimes be fuzzy, I would define religion as a belief in a deity (or deities) to give meaning to our temporary lives in an otherwise chaotic existence. Superstition deals with small disconnected issues. The use of beads in superstition assumes that they have some magical power to ward off evils. Beads in religion are tools to help in communicating with God (or gods). Anyway, beads can be beautiful in their own right, whatever their purpose.
So, having defined religion and superstition as well as I can, let’s go on to some of the history of beads in religion and superstition.

Prayer Beads in Religion
Prayer beads have been used at some time in most of the major religions in the world, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. The English word bead comes from the Anglo-Saxon word bede which means prayer. In Islam beads are used in a string of 99 to count the attributes of God. In Hinduism and Buddhism the type of bead used is more important than the number. In Catholicicsm beads are strung in Rosary which represents a religious garden.

Beads in Superstition:

Evil Eye
Probably, the most widespread superstitious bead with a long history is the Evil Eye. This type of bead dates back to prehistoric times and has been found particularly in ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, Asia Minor, the Middle East, and Europe. The concept is that someone can cause you harm by giving you the Evil Eye. Beads shaped and colored to look like an eye were made to ward off this evil.

Ancient Egypt
In ancient Egypt heart shaped beads were believed to promote health. They were also often buried with the dead to continue good health into the afterlife. Another ancient Egyptian bead called the menat was believed to protect women and bring them love. A lotus shaped bead was believed to give intelligence, and a fish bead was believed to ward off evil. Eye shaped beads to fight the Evil Eye were typically blue in color.

Other Ancient Civilizations
The Romans believed amber beads could ward off illnesses. A ram shaped bead was believed by some Middle Eastern civilizations to give strength.

Adder Beads
Adder beads were beads made of a glass-like material found in Britain since ancient times. The peasants believed that they were made by adders (poisonous snakes). They were believed to cure various ills in people and livestock as well as to help with difficult pregnancies

You can see modern day handcrafted glass beads at BEADSHAPER

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Prehistoric and Ancient Bead Trade

Beads have been involved in trade going back to prehistoric times. Excavations at Skhul in Israel found 100,000 year old small shells that were used as decorative beads. The location of the excavation was some distance from the sea where the shells were collected indicating that they were brought by someone to that location, possibly bartered. The beads had holes in them. If those holes were made by humans, this would indicate that they were probably strung and used for ornamentation. Similar shell beads have also been found in South Africa dating back 75,000 years and in Algeria dating back 30,000 to 90,000 years.
Beads in the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia beginning with Sumer were more sophisticated and often were made of clay, metal, or semi-precious stones. Mesopotamia developed trade including beads with the other civilizations of the time, especially Egypt, but also Persia and India. The Mesopotamian crafters were known for their Carnelian beads. The Egyptian crafters were known for their lapis lazuli beads. Lapis stones were mostly mined in what is now Afghanistan and imported into Egypt where the raw material was made into beads and other objects. Bead making in China and in the Mayan civilization in the Americas developed independently. The Chinese were know for their jade beads. Beads made in the various places were carried to far away places over trade routes. As far as we know, the Mayans never were involved in the bead trade outside of the Americas because their civilization pre-dated the discovery of the New World by Columbus.
Glass bead making was developed in Egypt. The Phoenicians, who were active in trade, picked it up and transported it to other civilizations. Glass bead making was further developed in Greek and later Roman civilizations.
You can see modern day handcrafted glass beads at


Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Onyx was popular with the Ancient Greeks and Romans. The Greek Onyx was of a number of colors, but the Romans used the word to refer only to the black variety (which is what we usually call onyx today) and a reddish brown variety called sardonyx. Onyx has been often been used in making cameos both in ancient Rome down to more recent times because it's softness is conducive to carving. The black color of black onyx is often enhanced by a dyeing process because of its porousness. Black onyx and black clothing were worn by Queen Victoria of England after the death of her husband, Prince Albert. This made onyx very popular in England in the late 19th Century. It has remained a popular stone for jewelry to this day.
Handcrafted lampwork jewelry pieces complemented with onyx stones can be found on the web at BEADSHAPER and METAL JEWELRY SHAPER


Thursday, May 14, 2015


Jade is a stone that is most commonly green or white and has been used since pre-historic times for adornment, ceremonial purposes, and utilitarian purposes. It is usually associated with the Far East, especially China, but jade was also used in pre-Columbian Central America and in the Maori culture of New Zealand. Jade deposits were also found in Canada by Chinese immigrants in the 1880s.
Jade has been mined in various parts of China and surrounding countries since 6000 BC and was often brought to the Imperial Chinese court as tribute or in trade where artisans made it into various artistic objects. It was often considered more valuable than silver or gold and has continued to be prized for its beauty and value.
You can find some beautiful jade necklaces at BEADSHAPER

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Macrame is the art of decorating with knots. Although macrame-like knots have been seen on carvings of ancient Mesopotamia, the art as it is known today began with Arabian crafters in the Middle Ages. It was brought to Spain by the Moors, and from there spread throughout Europe. Macrame was used to decorate shawls, towels, and other fabrics. It has become a technique in making jewelry in North America since the 1970s.
Rose will be featuring the art of making macrame bracelets in her classes at jewelry shows in California. See BEADSHAPER for details.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Pearls are calcified nodules that grow in mollusks due to an irritation of the inner lining of the shell. This irritation occurs infrequently which accounts for the rarity of natural pearls. Freshwater pearls come from mussels that live in freshwater. Saltwater pearls come from oysters that live in salt water. People realized even in ancient times that pearl production in mussels and oysters could be artificially induced, thus creating cultured pearls. The technique of culturing pearls was greatly perfected by Japanese pearlmakers in the early 20th Century and was particularly centered at Lake Biwa near Kyoto. The Lake Biwa pearl industry has declined in recent decades because of pollution in the lake, and China has become the major producer of cultured freshwater pearls.

In the bracelet pictured above, pearls and lampwork glass beads complement each other. Click Beadshaper to see more of the Beadshaper's jewelry creations.

Saturday, April 18, 2015



Malachite is a green mineral that has been known since ancient times. In ancient times malachite was used as an ornamental and gem stone and was used in making green paint. It has been mined in the Timna Valley in Israel for 3,000 years. Malachite is also mined in many parts of the world. Some of the largest deposits are in Russia. In the USA, it is mined in Arizona. There are also deposits in Africa, France, and Britain.
The malachite ring pictured above can be found at Metal Jewelry Shaper

Sunday, April 12, 2015


The word opal is believed to have it's origin in  the Sanskrit word upala. The stone was known to various ancient civilizations. The Romans referred to it by the Latin name opalus. The Romans are believed to have bought opals from traders at the Bosporus in what is now Turkey who in turn might have imported them from India. It was considered a lucky stone in Medieval Europe because of it's multiple colors. Later in 19th Century England it fell out of favor for 50 years because of a novel by Sir Walter Scott in which one of the characters met an unhappy end while wearing an opal talisman. It's popularity was later resurrected by Queen Victoria who gave opal jewelry as gifts to her relatives. In Russia at one time it was believed to be an Evil Eye which gave the owner special powers for revenge. Nowadays opal is appreciated for it's beauty rather than for any perceived good or bad supernatural powers.
The opal bracelet pictured above can be found at

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Coral reefs are home to a significant per cent of marine plant and animal life. They are believed to have existed on and off for 500 million years but went through a number of  periods of dying off and then re-emerging. At present they are endangered by global warming and other effects of human enterprise. Red coral is a specific variety of coral that has been collected and used by humans for decorative purposes since ancient times. This red coral was found along the Mediterranean coast. The ancient Romans used it in trade with India where it was very popular. The use of coral continued through the Middle ages and Renaissance to modern times.
Bracelets like the red coral one pictured above can be found at Beadshaper