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Beaded bracelets can offer a rhythmic and lustrous beauty to the wearer’s wrist. Durable yet dazzling, they have enjoyed a rich history that dates back to the origin of the bead itself almost 100,000 years ago. Early beaded bands were typically made from natural or organic materials, such as shells or coral.
As artisans became more adept in their designs, more complex wood and stone beads came into popularity. The carving of semiprecious stones into beads occurred to artisans roughly 30,000 years ago, introducing the potential for luxurious beaded designs.
The advent of the glass bead dates to roughly 5,000 years ago to the cultures of ancient Mesopotamia, who pioneered rudimentary techniques for wrapping molten glass into tubular bead shapes. The Venetians arguably perfected this glass bead technique several hundred years later. The island of Murano off the coast of the Lagoon City still producing beads today, along with other blown glass works.
Today, beaded bracelets carry on these past traditions while also including some modern advances. New means of stringing and closure mean more accommodations for the wearer’s wrist and less likelihood of a beaded strand breaking.
Beads used in bracelets can vary greatly in size, from the smallest seed beads to the larger, and more elaborate lamp work beads, which are typically extensively decorated and could amount to close to a half an inch in across
Cairo’s Egyptian Museum boasts two fantastic beaded cuff bracelets of Queen Ahhotep (16th century B.C.). Decorated with 18 rows of seed beads, these cuffs are framed in gold and are complemented with inlaid semiprecious stones such as turquoise and lapis lazuli
Venetian glass blowers developed ways in which to use the tools of their trade to create magnificent glass beads. Using the various canes of color and pattern that would typically be incorporated into paperweights or vases, these artists instead rolled the canes into tubes and cut them to create richly designed beads