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Friday, July 31, 2020


First we must define what is art? The Merriam-Webster definition of art is something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings. I think a better definition is something that is created for pleasing the senses and not necessarily for practicality. However a creation can consist of both artistic and practical features, for example architecture.
There is controversy as to whether non-human animals can make or appreciate art. The earliest human art that we know of is Bhimbetka petroglyphs which are engravings on rock found in central India which date from at least 290,000 BCE which must have been made by a very early human species. The ability to create art increases as the size and efficiency of the human brain evolves. Cave paintings and figurines of Cro-Magnon man dating back to about 50,000 BCE have been found in Europe and elsewhere. In the Mesolithic period from 10,000 to 4,000 BCE we see more sophisticated cave paintings, sculpture, pottery, and jewelry. After that we enter the era of recorded history and increasingly sophisticated art.


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Wednesday, July 29, 2020


The Sumerian civilization which existed from about 8000 B.C. to about 2000 B.C. is considered the first civilization in the world although much less sophisticated in the first 3000 years. Cities appeared after 5000 B.C. Sumer was located in the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the Middle East in the land which now makes up Iraq. The Sumerian ladies wore their hair in braids. The clothing consisted of a gown down to the ankles with one shoulder bare. Clothing materials consisted of wool and flax. In the early years before the process of weaving wool was invented, Sumerians wore sheepskin with the wooly side inward. Wealthy Sumerian ladies wore silver and gold jewelry as accessories including earrings, necklaces, pendants, and rings.
.These earrings are not ancient Sumerian. They were made in modern times by the Rose.
To see more of the Rose's creations click Beadshaper Gallery.

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Monday, July 13, 2020


Beads have been used in trade for centuries, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. “Amber" beads are highly prized in certain African cultures as status symbols. They are often included in the dowry which a woman brings into a marriage. The beads do not necessarily have to be natural amber. Natural amber is millions of years old petrified resin from trees. While we usually draw a distinction between natural and manufactured, to many African people manufactured amber-like beads impart the same status as natural amber. An interesting history has developed concerning Bakelite African ambroid beads. Dr. Leo Baekeland (1863-1944) was born in Belgium and migrated to the USA in 1889 at the age of 26. He invented Bakelite, the first true plastic, in 1907 by combining phenol and formaldehyde. He then formed the Bakelite Corporation which manufactured Bakelite. Dr. Baekeland was president of Bakelite from 1910 to 1939. When the Bakelite Corporation’s patent ran out in 1927, other companies started producing phenol/formaldehyde plastics. For a time, the word bakelite was used by many people to refer to any similar plastic. Bakelite was used to manufacture many products including beads and jewelry. It was made in various colors, one of which was an amber color which resembled natural amber. Bakelite was used in making jewelry that was produced in America and Europe for domestic sale in the early 20th Century (especially during the Depression when formerly wealthy people wanted more affordable jewelry), but it was also sold in Africa where the amber-like variety was very popular. During World War II, bakelite jewelry was no longer made because the material was needed to make products for the military.
Today, bakelite products manufactured in the early 20th Century, particularly beads and jewelry including those used in the African trade, are valued as antiques and collectibles. Rose has acquired a number of those antique African amber-like bakelite beads which she has incorporated into African ambroid jewelry which are available for sale on her web-site at 

You can purchase the bracelet in the photo above at african ambroid bracelet (

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Ancient diamond mines existed in India which were the main source of diamonds at that time. The origin of diamond cutting to transform a rough diamond stone into a jewel is unclear, but the earliest diamond cutters were probably in India. However the Indians usually did minimal alterations to the rough stone because they felt that too much cutting would ruin the mystical value of the stone. The more sophisticated diamond cutting that we know today originated in Europe in the Middle Ages when Venetian traders brought diamonds back home from India. during the following centuries diamond cutting and trading spread to other parts of Europe, particularly Amsterdam, Bruges, and Antwerp. In the 15th Century, many of the traders and workers in the diamond industry in those 3 cities were religious Jews because of the relative religious tolerance practiced there at that time. There was a temporary hiatus in the diamond activity of Bruges and Antwerp when Spain took over Belgium temporarily in the 16th Century and instituted the Inquisition there which drove out the Jewish diamond workers. But this ended when the Spanish were driven out and religious tolerance returned.
The discovery of diamonds in South Africa in the late 19th Century and the rise of the DeBeers Diamond Company there greatly increased the volume of diamonds on the market at a time when great wealth in the West, particularly the United States, provided a market to absorb the increased production. The rise of the Nazis in Europe in the mid 20th Century produced another temporary hiatus in the diamond industry of the Netherlands and Belgium when the Jewish diamond workers either fled Europe or were killed in the Holocaust. Many of those who escaped went to Palestine which later became Israel where the City of Ramat Gan is now one of the great diamond centers of the world. Many of the survivors returned to Antwerp which also remains one of the great diamond centers of today's world.
The Beadshaper does not make or sell any diamond jewelry, but she offers beaded jewelry, and semi-precious stone jewelry on her web site at  http://

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