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Beads Beads Beads

I sometimes say to customers: "The first primitive woman looked at the ground and saw a pretty stone and picked it up and figured out a way to hang it on on her neck…the earliest man bent over and picked up a big rock and found away to make a tool out of it…"


[ A string of early 20th century hand carved carnelian beads ]

Next they must have gotten together and made a bead!

Because, Wikipedia defines a bead as "a small decorative object that is pierced for threading" and then adds… "a pair of beads…approximately 100,000 years old, are thought to be the earliest example of jewelry."


[ Hand carved jade beads from a Mandarin Court necklace ]

I think their definition is so brief because no one wants to try and summarize a subject (beads) that has been commercially and spiritually entwined with human culture for tens and tens thousands of years…


[ 19th century hollow carved bone beads from a Mandarin Court necklace ]

But as I write this, the other part of my brain has been thinking about those 100,000 year old beads …Darn, in my next lifetime I will have to study archeology and anthropology.

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