Beadwork is old and eternally young handicraft. It does not lose its purity and colour sonority with the passing of time. It has got some connections with repercussions of our distant ancestors and, owing to beadwork, we know tastes and colour preferences of forefathers. Interested? Then proceedereading, and you will learn much more about the history of beadwork. Find out about the latest tendencies and how to choose the right design of bead necklace for you. If you have skillful fingers you can try to make a bead necklace at home. We will tell you how to do it quickly.
Briefly about beads origin
When we talk about beads, it is implied, first of all, glass beads. It is entirely justified because glass is the most frequently used material for beads and glass beads production. Though, various materials are applicable for this purpose: metal, porcelain and all sorts of plastic.
Beads and necklaces have got a long history in many different countries. Glass beads origin was shrouded in mystery over an extended period of time. The secret of glass discovery attributed to Phoenicians.
Beads and beadings of glass were used as supporting material to make jewellery. The costume jewellery became widely presented in many countries soon. Egyptians, for example, made ‘trade expeditions’ to the eastern shore of Africa and amazed residents with their marvelous goods – beads and necklaces. In such a way an epoch of beadwork commenced in Africa.
Despite the fact that beadworks techniques of different nations have much in common, beadwork reflects national peculiarities and ethnic colours. Even superficial ‘acquaintance’ with certain features of foreign handiwork is not only entertaining but informative as well. Sometimes exotic accessories may inspire to create something new, untraditional in a fashion of jewelry and costume ornaments.
Beads as material for arts and crafts appeared in most of the African tribes with the coming of Europeans. At first it costs much: for example, a slave’s price was equal to a few threads of beads. That is why this new material was costly for local people. In fact, traditional materials for jewels were seeds, sea shells, bones of animals, ostriches eggshell, iridescent wings of beetles; all this stuff was not so beautiful and handy in work because quite often it required further processing.
Africans use beads and beadings very widely like elements of garments and trimmings. Sometimes beads constitute the full attire. For instance, women of Turkana tribe wear special aprons embroidered with beads. Moreover, they have got huge bundles of beads on the neck. Under this, there is a piece of antelope leather that is entirely embroidered with beadings and beads. The total weight of such a costume may reach to 8-10 kilograms.
African needlewomen have got the same beadwork techniques as in Europe, though created pieces in Africa are internationally famous due to the ethnic peculiarities.
In Kenya, the Masai tribe produces incredibly wonderful rounded necklace-collars on a stiff wire carcass. The Masai wear a few necklaces at the same time putting them up one on top of another. Besides, Masai women adorn themselves with multiple bracelets and headdresses. Moreover, each age has got its set of decorations.
It is interesting to know that men got a little thing for beading. Most frequently they wear bead necklaces with a national ornament. Sometimes beaded headgear may be enormous and complicated. For instance, the musicians of Burundi tribe put on crossed beading ribbons above the tunics of leopard skinning. Their beadwork is made from white and blue beads with the patterns of zigzags, rhombus, and triangles. These are just a couple of examples justifying that traditional beadwork art is going through a period of boom currently.
The word ‘necklace’ originated from English and French and it literary means ‘collar’. Indeed, this ornament is supposed to be on the neck, and it quite differs from a chain. Necklace, as a rule, is rather massive, and it is shorter than the chain; its aesthetics requires special attires.
Production of a bead necklace is rather creative and inspiring occupation. Such necklaces have always been a part of a celebratory or party image. And even nowadays bead necklaces are no less popular among snappy dressers. The gloss of beadings and glass beads add elegance and glamour to any look. That is why such costume jewels are on businesswomen, politicians and fashionable ladies.
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Current bead designs
Nigerians are fond of beadwork! Almost every woman in Nigeria is an ardent beadwork artist that makes wonderful jewel items at home for sale. Thus, Nigeria is known for the craftsman and miraculously made jewelry. Astonishing necklaces became a business card of the whole country. The web is full of countless photos and sale advertisements of Nigerian bead necklaces and other accessories. So, what are the most fashionable items? Well, every jewel set is unique and distinctive. Let’s discuss contemporary bead designs.
As a rule, Nigerian necklaces are massive and elegant. One might doubt whether an extensive decoration looks good, but, in fact, the combination of rather large beads make a person more refined; a lady that chooses such a necklace, on the contrary, looks more exquisite and her figure appear to be slimmer.
In contrast to huge and big bead necklaces, delicate and refined ones are also fancy.
The choice of colour is quite diverse. A fashionable colour palette is not limited to particular colours. All hints and colours are stylish on the condition that they are properly selected. For example, bright and so-called ‘juicy’ colours, as well as pastel hints, look equally attractive. Everything depends on a personal taste and purpose. Sometimes designers make rather gaudy combination of colours, but these jewelry sets draw the eyes as well. For instance, a mix of yellow and red or bright blue and brown make a harmonious fancy duet. Some delicate colours and soft hues (like beige, ivory, mustard, milky-white, etc.) accentuate the beauty of the skin and well-groomed appearances, others can highlight the eyes colour or draw attention to the lips, neck or face shape.
As for bead necklace forms, everything is acceptable. The most frequently worn are so-called beaded collars, ties, braids, sophisticated loops, skillfully made patterns chokers, necklaces with bead flowers, leaves, tangled strings of beads, etc.
Animal motif (in particular serpents) is also quite popular. In general, there is no limit of imagination.
The choice of a bead necklace depends on garments, for instance, a dress: whether it has got a neckline or high neck, etc.
One more feature is beading mixture with precious and semi-precious stones like turquoise, carnelian, lapis lazuli, amber, moonstone, etc. The price for such jewel items is rather high, and the selected materials justify it.
It is also important to balance a costume and make-up correctly with accessories. All tiny nuances should be considered: for example, colour of a blouse, its texture and pattern have to combine with a bead necklace and other decorations, like bracelets, earrings, rings, waistband, bag, and turban. The consonance of all items, a bead necklace mainly, makes an image perfect.
Complicated bead necklaces (with bead flowers, so-called braids, various intertwining, combinations of different sized beads with glass beads or rhinestones etc.) and simple ones (simple bead strings) are equally fashionable.
It looks very attractively to wear a bead necklace with some ethnic emphases. Such looks unite in one item fashion and history, new and old, progress and folk art. That is why they are in demand.
High-quality beads and neat beadwork play a vital role in marketing. Only accurately made items became sought-after.
How to make a bead necklace at home?
The bead necklace is one of the most sought-after jewelry pieces that does not require significant skills to make it with one’s hands. That is why master classes with photos and patterns are so popular among beadwork artists. There are even special sites where any interested person can find a profound collection of master classes dedicated to the production of bead necklaces and chokers for all tastes: from beginners to more sophisticated needlewomen.
So, to take up beadwork, a novice should have all the necessary things for work.
Let’s enumerate the most necessary tools:
- beads of various size and colours (for the first time you may limit yourself to 2 colours);
- glass beads;
- sharp scissors;
- threads or wire;
- a pattern;
- a ruler;
- a jewellery clasp;
- a needle for beading, etc.
While picking material for work a novice ought to follow recommendations and advice of more experienced artisans. According to experts’ view, beads made products look more stunning, sophisticated and elegant if you use beadings of the smallest size. One coloured necklace falls far below several coloured ones. Mind that beadings of close colours or hints are entirely compatible. But contrast colours are also quite good together, like white and black. As for the string, beadwork artists often use fishing line instead of thread; it makes an item look stiff.
If you adore Nigerian bead necklaces but cannot afford it, you may test yourself and make a real beauty with your hands. Follow the simple tips below, and you will succeed in it!
Let’s make a bead necklace of two colours
- First of all, you must tie a secure knot to begin beadwork. Then you have to string 6 black beads, add 3 white beads and 5 black beads again.
- The next step: a needle goes through the last bead of white colour making a loop of 5 black beads. Then 2 white and 5 black beads are added, and the needle goes again through the first of black beads. A tiny part of a future ornament works out. After that you string 3 white and 5 black beads; the needle goes through the last black bead (the one that locates before the white one). Then you must string 3 white and 5 black beads one more time, make the loop of black beadings and keep the beadwork on according to this very pattern (to make a framework of necessary length). The length of the necklace depends on estimated size of a jewelry item, for instance, 72 segments are counted using the loops.
- The next step is making the mid of the beadwork. It is made in the form of pendants or so-called ‘coral’.
- The working technique is quite easy though it demands attention and neatness. One more important point is the length of a thread for each of pendants. You should cut long enough thread at once not to do it while beading.
- Tied the knot let the thread go through a few of beads to make the loop.
- Now all you have to do is to pin a clasp and dress it up with pleasure.
This accessory is unique, no doubts, no one has something similar! Voila! It is ready! It is easier than a hiccup to make it with your hands!
Beadwork in Nigeria is a way of life: it is a creative outlet and way to earn extra money. Nigerian bead items are peculiar and only one of its kind. That is why they are so sought-after all over the world.
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