My So Charmed Life

So Charmed

The Girl with the Most Beads

05.20.10

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I have had a growing collection of vintage mardi gras beads for many years now and recently my interest in these has peaked again.

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The most collectable of the old “throws” as they are called are the vintage glass strings, made in the Czech Republic and later Japan, in the 1920’s-30’s. These beads fetch a nice price on the collector’s market. Becoming equally collectable though are the plastic beads made in Hong Kong in the 1960’s. The lot pictured in this post was scored for a ridiculously low price on ebay (under $10) and probably contains 200+ finished necklaces. Upon first glance to the average eye, it is easy to think of these as plastic trash, ready for the recycle bin.

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Closer inspection and some careful sifting and combining however reveals absolutely gorgeous beads in colors no longer seen in jewelry and with a vast variety of shapes and textures.

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Some of the colorways are highly sophisticated, others are playful, even garish, including true neons.

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What I dearly love about these beads is that they all look like candy… even more so than their valued glass cousins. And as you know, edibility is one of my favorite aethestics when it comes to beads.

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Working with the beads is challenging because they are lovely and perfect in their own right, highly wearable as far as I’m concerned. Above is one of my initial attempts to recontextualize a strand, combining them with a most fantastical tin carousel charm and other bits from the vast collection. I’m working on a series of these which will be available in the CircusDolls collection at So Charmed within a week or so.

Indeed, I believe with this most recent score, I have earned the title of this post, don’t you think? Here’s the Hole video as a soundtrack… xoxoxo

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