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What do you first see when you look at a piece of jewelry, whether it be earrings, bracelet, necklace ring, or whatever else in jewelry designs?
It is the color of the piece. Without even thinking about it or putting it all into words, we will notice if the color is bright, subtle, and if it contrasts or blends with whatever else the person is wearing. We may also notice if the color of the piece contrasts or blends with the color or finish of jewelry components used to complete the piece. The jewelry components will be silver, gold, bronze, or some other kind of finish. Put into words, it takes quite a few words to describe all the different elements we see within seconds of time.
The color of a piece of jewelry can make many unspoken statements and serves as a source of “body language.” What we as the wearer of that piece of jewelry needs to be aware of is: Just what is the statements we desire to convey to others? When we answer this question we might be able to choose colors in jewelry that speaks exactly what we want others to know or not know.
Color is one of the main ways in which our jewelry pieces communicates with the world. For example, do you wear a lot of black jewelry? Chosen black jewelry pieces could be saying to others, “I am bold and strong from the inside out.” Black is a very strong and bold color.
Color can be played with. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference, yet, we still do communicate an unspoken riddle, or song, or story about our self with every color we choose. Black also is associated with depression and mourning.
I recall reading about the widow of Jesse James who was said to always dress in black, at least in public places, as a sign of mourning the death of her husband and this continued until the day she died. I have not read this to be a fact, but I would think Zee James was probably also buried in black.
Johnny Cash was known to wear a lot of black when he was alive. I think I have read he was described as being “the man dressed in black.” He said his reason for this was to be a symbol that he stood for the downtrodden people in this world. The colors we wear in jewelry and clothing really do shout out to the world many important aspects of our internal world.
Hey, I wear a lot of black in exercise clothes. A black top and black bottom can be extra slimming. I suppose I am saying to the world, I want to be “slim.” And this is truth. I do desire to be slimmer than I am, so wearing all black helps me achieve this goal even when it is not the truth YET.
A few meanings to colors:
Red is one of my favorite colors. It is said to be a color of fire and blood. Red is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination, passion, desire and love.
Think about it next time you wear the color red. You are most likely communicating to others that you have energy to burn as if a fire that burns. You might be strong and fit for war and danger, and you are probably very passionate having deep desire and able to love with intense feelings.
I have to admit, this description fits me fairly well. I am drawn to the color of red wherever I see it. Beads are no different. A red bead among all other colors will come forth to me first. Since I have to wear a lot of black in clothes to appear slimmer, red speaks other facts about my temperament and soul. I like a pair of drop earrings made with red beads.
Blue is another color I like put together with red. It is the color of the sky and sea and is often associated with depth and stability. Blue is a symbol of trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth and last but not least – heaven. That color sure describes a lot about me as well.
Jewelry artisans use color often to start a piece of jewelry. Some people are natural experts at putting colors together without even thinking about it. Others have to have a little help from the color wheel.
As a jewelry artisan start with one main color and build around that color according to the color wheel or just whatever suits you best at the moment in time you are creating the piece of jewelry. There are no hard and final rules for creating jewelry using color. It actually is a creative process that also speaks volumes about the jewelry artisan. Check out the colors any jewelry artisan uses consistently and you will most likely hear with your eyes a volume of unspoken realities about that person.
There are analogous color schemes one can incorporate into jewelry making. These schemes use two or more colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel. For example, start with the color of orange and to create an analogous color scheme with orange, add shades of yellow and red beads. The yellow and red beads will work to tone down the strong color of orange.
A complimentary color scheme would be using colors on the color wheel that are opposite of each other. For example, use red beads with green beads, or use yellow beads with violet beads. Use orange beads with blue beads, etc.
A split-complimentary color scheme consists of your first color choice combined with the two colors that sit either side of its complimentary. For example, use green and violet beads with orange beads. Once again the orange color is toned down by the green and violet colors.
Bead colors are not the only way a jewelry artisan can use color to create jewelry designs. Jewelry components such as jump rings, ball pins, chains, earring findings, clasps also help to create a final piece of jewelry by putting colors together in some kind of scheme or just by whatever comes forth from the heart in color creativity. For example, combining red carnelian beads with copper jewelry findings creates an analogous color scheme. Mix turquoise beads with copper jewelry findings to create a complimentary color scheme.
The rules to color are available to help jewelry artisans, but these color rules are never written in stone for anyone. We have often heard the saying, “rules are made to be broken.” It is the same with using color schemes in jewelry making. Sometimes a complete mix of colors will turn out fantastic. Creating jewelry is also a form of unspoken communication about the jewelry artisan.
Remember: Whatever color you choose to wear in jewelry or clothes definitely communicates to the world outside of yourself hidden or well known stories about yourself. You might be a person of few words, but the colors you wear will speak for you in volumes.
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Beads are found all over the world. Many different cultures believe in prayer beads. Some people believe the use of beads helps them to recite their prayers. What about “worry beads?” Middle East businessmen have been known to wear a tasseled strand of 33 beads they call “worry beads,” to help them make decisions. As for me, it would take much more than a necklace of 33 beads to help me make decisions. One never knows though until you try. Maybe I should put together a tassel strand of 33 beads the next time I am up against decision making.
During the Middle Ages, Europeans made beads primarily for religious purposes. In some regions there were laws against wearing any kind of jewelry except prayer beads, the rosary. Many other great bead traditions emerged. Beads have been found in much of our excavations. Historians study the finds to learn about ancestors. Some of the things they have learned from the study of beads found are:
trade route facts
technological advances of materials and manufacturing methods
evolving fashions and habits of generations before us
Beads continue to increase in popularity and value. People have become more and more fascinated by the history of beads as well as their significance to different cultures. Beads of all kinds is full of a rich history many people find fascinating as they work with them and create more and more designs. Innovation in bead designs is ongoing daily.
It is interesting to note Turkish eye beads found all over Turkey were and probably still are used to ward off the “evil eye.” Who is the evil eye? I would say it is the devil in my personal culture. As bead artisans learn more about beads and bead jewelry making we also pick up little tidbits along the way regarding how they have been used, and why they have been used or worn. Once we become fired up with enthusiasm about beads, the creative process of making bead jewelry kicks in as well. My first love was for the beads themselves, and not the actual finished jewelry products.
I know it must be exciting to travel the world, visit their local markets and hunt for beads. Africa, Eastern Europe, India, the Middle East, the Far East are all interesting locations for bead hunters, I am sure, as well as unique bead jewelry making traditions. It would take some time to learn differences in what is real and what is fake.
Glass was the most common material used to make beads during the Neolithic era of time in Europe and the Middle East. The Middle East is part of the“exotic lands.” They also had beads of amber, gold and semiprecious stones. I really think a lot of us just by human nature crave that which is novel to us.
Germany is known for their wooden toys. Germany’s wooden beads follow right along after their tradition of making wooden toys.
As for now, I truly am not interested in making beads. I think there is enough to discover already made without creating more. Beads have such a rich and fascinating history it is hard to just skip over to putting them together as jewelry pieces without knowing a little bit about where it all began. For the love of beads, a jewelry artisan most likely emerges.
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