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Men and women have been adorning themselves for thousand of years. The oldest beads discovered to date are at least 82,000 years old. Wow!  In the coming months I will be sharing with you some fun and interesting facts about jewelry in general and beads in particular.  Wanting to look our best is part of our cultural heritage. I love learning about this ancient tradition - a tradition that has not only survived for so long, but remains such an important part of our lives.  I hope you enjoy this walk through time. I'll be posting more "Fun Facts" along the way.

Trade Beads

Did you know that these trade beads were actually made in Italy in the 1800s. The are handmade glass beads. Highly prized, the beads were taken to Africa and used as currency.  Italian Artist friend



Aquamarine is the birthstone for March. Most of the raw crystals for the world market come from Brazil. Aquamarine gets its name from the Latin aqua meaning "water" and mare or mainus meaning "sea" or "ocean".  Amulets featuring aquamarines have been dated as old as 500 BC.



It was first described in 1788 for an occurrence in the Karoo dolerites of Cradock, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.[2] It was named for Colonel Hendrik Von Prehn (1733–1785), commander of the military forces of the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope from 1768 to 1780.


Gems of Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt "carnelian", "lapis" and "turquoise" were the "precious" gems of the day. The first metal that the ancient Egyptians used was copper, which they mined in the valleys east of the Nile river up to 5,000 years ago. By 2,000 B.C.E. the Egyptians were adding tin to copper in order to make bronze, which was a much harder and stronger metal.


Pewter is a metal alloy. That means it's a mixture of two or more metals. Tin is the major component of pewter at more than 90% and the rest is antimony, copper, and sometimes bismuth. Tin is the fourth most precious metal in common use behind platinum, gold and silver.


World's Oldest Beads

Tiny shells coated in red clay are the oldest known human ornamentation, an international team of archaeologists recently announced. So far, 13 shells dated to 82,000 years ago have been found in the Grotte des Pigeons at Taforalt in eastern Morocco.  National Geographic News - June 7, 2007


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