Other types of beads and silver that I use in my designs include:
African Trade Beads - Most of the African trade beads that I use are from the idyllic Krobo region in southern Ghana and are created by Krobo glass artisans. These beads are commonly used in rituals such as weddings and coming-of-age ceremonies. The artisans make use of recycled glass, which is ground into fine powder as it has been for centuries. The glass powder is then carefully formed into patterns and placed into hand-made clay molds covered in kaolin. The beads are fired, decorated, washed, and strung. These beautiful beads are one of a kind and represent a long tradition of bead artistry and is also an important part of the economy.
Fresh Water Pearls - are cultured pearls grown in freshwater rather than saltwater. Natural freshwater pearls are rarely perfectly round. Freshwater pearls are noted for their wide range of colors. They can be found in white, pink, salmon, copper, bronze, brown, lavender, green, blue, cream and yellow. As a rule, freshwater pearls are the color of the shell in which they are formed.
Swarovski Austrian Crystals - Swarovski beads are machine cut and ground using a process created by Daniel Swarovski in 1895. This process creates a sparkle similar to diamonds when light bounces off the beads.
Czech Glass - The Czech Republic makes great glass beads. These beads are sometimes called "pressed glass" because the molten glass is poured into molds and fired in a kiln. Another kind of pressed glass is "fire polished" which has a crystal-like, sparkling finish.
Dichroic Glass - I love to use dichroic glass in my work, because each piece is a one-of-a-kind work of art. This form of art glass has the vibrant color and iridescence of a fire opal. What does one see when viewing a piece of dichroic-art glass? You will first notice that there are two or more different colors depending on which angle it’s viewed from. A piece of dichroic glass that has a green reflection color when viewed straight-on, will change from green to blue and then to purple when tilted at an angle. This is the origin of the term "dichroic" which means two colors. The color of dichroic glass is not due to any dyes or pigments. The surface of a dichroic piece, itself, actually has no color, but, instead, consists of extremely thin multilayers of semi-reflective material.
Lampwork Beads - Each lampwork bead is a unique work of art handcrafted by a glass artist, one at a time. Glass becomes molten when heated to a certain temperature; glass artisans can then create unique shapes as well as layers while holding the glass over a flame (or lamp). Lampwork beads usually have raised decorations, bumps, dots, swirls of various colors and inlayed designs.
Cane Glass Beads - Handcrafted furnace glass cane beads are high quality beads made by glass-smiths in the United States. These beads are handcrafted with cane glass rods. They can be found in a wide variety of different colors and patterns.
Venetian Beads and Murano Glass Beads - Hand made art beads using Moretti glass canes, Venetian beads made in Murano and Venice itself are among the most beautiful and coveted glass beads worldwide. Venetian artisans have been influencing glass bead makers from around the world for several centuries, creating the distinct and unique Venetian glass bead style.
Bali Silver Beads - These intricate sterling silver findings are handmade from strips and dots of silver wire to create, beads, caps, clasps and ear wires. They are all handcrafted by Balinese silver artisans.
PMC - Which stands for precious metal clay, is a wonderful new material in the jewelry world developed by Mitsubishi Materials in the early 1990's. The ingredients of PMC are micro-particles of pure silver or pure gold suspended in "clay" consisting of water and organic naturally occurring plant-based binder. The binder or clay is non-toxic in both its raw and fired form and completely evaporates in the firing process. After firing additional layers and parts such as stones can be added to the piece, which is then re-fired.
This flexible metal bearing clay material can be sculpted, pushed, pulled, carved, and shaped with many different techniques. One of the great things about using Precious Metal Clay is the ability to take organic objects from nature and turn them into a piece of wearable art jewelry! Since PMC pieces are pure silver they will not tarnish like sterling silver.
Thai Hill Tribe Silver - These amazing silver beads from Thailand, are each handmade by the native Hill tribe. A bead is shaped over tree resin by wrapping strips of silver around the form. Many of the designs have cultural significance. They are made of fine silver and stamped 99.9%. This high grade of silver is used because it is extremely soft and allows the ancient tribe people to use hand tools to carve and shape each piece individually.