Those Beads Are Made of WHAT?!

As anybody who has been in a bead store can tell you, there are millions of different styles of beads in the world. Considering variety is the spice of life, we are always excited to discover new & unusual types of beads!

A customer recently donated a copy of The History of Beads by Lois Sherr Dubin to the shop, and we have had a great time perusing its glossy pages. It was interesting to find out more about the different types of beads typically found in specific countries or regions:

  • The first beads in the world (made from animal teeth and bones) were discovered in France and date back to 38,000 B.C.
  • Afghanistan, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries are known for their lapis lazuli, carnelian, and agate beads.
  • Over 6,000,000 lbs of glass beads were made in Venice in 1880 (more specifically, a mosaic glass style of bead known as millefiore.)
  • China, Japan, and other countries in the Far East have specialized in elaborately carved jade & coral beads, as well as detailed enamel beads, for centuries.
  • Native tribes from North America and Mexico have long created beads from such materials as turquoise and amber, but also horn, antler, bone, and other natural materials

Finding out more about ancient beads got us curious: what types of unusual beads exist today? Although some of the following bead styles have been a round for a long, long. time, some are distinctly more modern, and some even made us say, “They made beads out of WHAT?” Enjoy!

Learn to make beads out of paper here at Blue Door Beads! Clcik the photo to see our full list of classes.

Learn to make beads out of paper here at Blue Door Beads! Click the photo to see our full list of classes.

Rose petal beads, which retain their scent after drying.  Photo courtesy of TheAbbeyStillRoom through Etsy.

Rose petal beads, which retain their scent after drying. HGTV has a quick tutorial on how you can create your own! Click photo for more. Photo courtesy of TheAbbeyStillRoom through Etsy.

Electroplated leaf pendants. eHow.com has a short tutorial on how to create your own metal leaves! Clcik photo for more.Photo courtesy of graciousgood.wordpress.com.

Electroplated leaf pendants. eHow.com has a short tutorial on how to create your own metal leaves! Click photo for more.
Photo courtesy of http://www.graciousgood.wordpress.com.

Fish vertabrae. Another animal whose vertabrae has been made into beads: a snake! Who knew? Photo courtesy of happymangobeads.com

Fish vertabrae. Another animal whose vertabrae has been made into beads: the snake! Who knew? Photo courtesy of http://www.happymangobeads.com

Sea urchin spines add cool texture to jewelry. Photo courtesy of DesertRoseTaxidermy through Etsy.

Sea urchin spines add cool texture to jewelry! Photo courtesy of DesertRoseTaxidermy through Etsy.

Porcupine quills add a dramatic flair this pair of hoop earrings. Photo courtesy of shopbop.com

Porcupine quills add a dramatic flair to this pair of hoop earrings. Photo courtesy of http://www.shopbop.com

Pay homage to your favorite soda or beer with bottle cap beads. A great way to upcycle! Photo courtesy of www.http-design.com.

Pay homage to your favorite soda or beer with bottle cap beads. A great way to upcycle! Photo courtesy of http://www.http-design.com.

The type of beads we voted "most unusual": felted beads made of cat fur! Visit www.carollew.com for more photos and instructions on how to make 'em!

The type of beads we voted “most unusual”: felted beads made of cat fur! Visit www.instructables.com (click the photo above) for more photos and instructions on how to make ’em! Photo courtesy of http://www.carollew.com.

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