Handmade Stone Beads

October 31, 2010

To honor the ancestors on this last night of the year, I offer one of the most ancient and universal of human treasures:  handmade stone beads.  They have rich autumnal colors, too.  These are hand-polished beads made from pebbles that I collected in the Empire Mountains.  They are not fancy and the stones are not as spectacular as some gem materials, but I made them for my personal projects and I’ll enjoy using and wearing them.  The large ones are a bit over 1/2 inch in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. 

These three red agate beads were cut from a single pebble of hematite-stained chalcedony:

Red Agate Beads

These three beads were cut from petrified wood (black), yellow jasper (chalcedony with iron oxide), and a pebble of translucent “strawberry” chalcedony with an unusual pink color that comes from tiny disseminated crystals of red metallic hematite:

Stone Beads

These three beads are all copper ores from the old mine dumps at Helvetia.  On the left is metallic gold chalcopyrite.  In the center is a mixture of copper ores, including green malachite; this type of rock is the typical Helvetia ore, and I have some big chunks of it decorating my yard.  On the right is metallic purple cuprite (rare at this locality) with minor malachite and chrysocolla.

Copper Ore Beads

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4 Responses to “Handmade Stone Beads”

  1. Debbie said

    Beautiful colors, all of them!

  2. Karin said

    Last night of the year? Is not that for the Winter Solstice?

  3. ironwing said

    In the Celtic and some other northern European traditions, it’s Halloween. In places that I’ve lived, there’s definitely a sense of ending because this is when the plants go dormant – the last flowers blow away, the last leaves fall, the desert plants no longer need water, etc. Very often it marks the change from warm to cold weather, even in the desert (though not this year – highs are still in the 80s!).
    Either “New Year” works for me, and I can appreciate and celebrate both, since my sense of time is more cyclic and less linear than most people’s, and my personal calendar can easily accomodate several different systems (solar, lunar, various plants, etc.) at once.

  4. Karin said

    Thank you Lorena, I didn’t know that about the Celtic tradition. Only that yes, if you consider only 2 seasons, Winter and Summer, the latter does indeed begins with Beltain, as does Winter with Samhain.

    Certainly it’s very warm now here in Chile, although Nature is one month later than it has been the norm lately (due to the big earthquake in February? Maybe). Vines are just now flowering, and cherries are still expensive to buy at the market…

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