Native American Indian Beads

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Beads were and still are like “staples” for people of the Native American culture. Native American Indian beads are carved from shells, turquoise, coral, copper, silver, amber, ivory, wood, and you might not have ever guessed, even animal parts. Well, I for one do not want to wear beads made from animal parts, yet, for some people from a Native American culture, this could be as normal as apple pie for me.

When I think of Native American jewelry I always see “turquoise” as their main bead choices, yet turquoise is surely not the only type of beads used by Native American cultures to create jewelry. Glass beads from Europe became part of their stashes of jewelry making supplies when the Europeans brought them over from Europe. Today, we will probably see more of the glass beads in Native American jewelry pieces along with turquoise and other materials.

Bead work patterns among Native American tribes of people varies. For example, the woodland tribes are known for their floral patterns and the province tribes of the Great Plains area are known for their geometric designs. And of course there are some cross overs in designs as the woodland tribes designed flora patterns in jewelry resembling their native forests. They also sometimes incorporated geometric designs in the borders of their jewelry. We can find crossovers in jewelry designs among the plains Indian tribes who sometimes added a bit of floral pattern to their geometric designs.

Imagine beads being carved out of shells! Even in non-coastal areas many Native Americans were very skilled at creating beads from shells.
Ancient Native American women were primarily the beading artisans of their tribes of people. They had special positions for women trained by a master beader in which these women would create beautiful pieces of clothing, accessories and ceremonial artifacts. I suppose these were the real bead artists among them.

Native American tribes in Southwestern United States still use the heishii technique for creating beads. Heishii beads are made from shells, turqouoise and other semi-precious stones. This technique involves first breaking the raw material into smaller pieces. A small hole is made through each piece with a hand-pump drill. The heishi beads are strung onto a sturdy cord. Once the stringing process is complete the string of beads are rolled back and forth on a piece of fine sandstone. The sanding down process of the beads creates beads all the same size with smooth edges.

Heishii beads necklaces are commonly made of many strands sometimes with just one type of bead or sometimes with many types. Turquoise beads combined with shell beads are the most common materials used to create heishii bead jewelry.

Flat pieces of turquoise or shells were carved into animals or other figures, strung onto strings with heishii beads and used to tell stories to children.

Native American people who had beads were generally seen as fairly prosperous people to have enough money to afford the beads and time to make jewelry. Beads were somewhat of a status symbol among them and a much cherished tradition that goes back thousands of years within the Native American Indians.

Written by: Connie Limon, Bead Jewelry Artisan


dangle earrings Rhea

Rhea is a pair of dangle earrings I added to Carmilita’s Victorian Dangle Earrings Collection. She dangles about one inch from the hook. She is appropriate for anytime wear, but may be especially appropriate for Christmas and/or New Year’s Holiday Celebrations, or as a Christmas Gift.

Materials Used:

2 Gold Plated Leverback Earring Hooks
6 Gold Plated Fancy Bead Caps
4 Gold Czech Glass Pearl Beads 6 mm
2 Gold Plated Head Pins
2 Red and Gold Lampwork Beads 12 mm

Rhea’s Price $15 (includes shipping charges)

See other selections of bead jewelry at: Carmilita’s Earrings



Shiva’s Victory Over Demons and the Right to Wear Rudraksha Beads with Pride

Indian lore is quite an interesting topic. Beads do have a very special place within the Indian culture. Have you ever heard of “Shiva?” Shiva is a quintessential tantra god as believed by some Indian cultures. Shiva’s image is of one wearing chains of “dark beads” around his neck, arms and ankles. These dark and mysterious looking beads are “Rudraksha Beads.” The Rudraksha Beads have a special significance in Hindu tantra.

Study closely the story of Shiva and Shakti, the consort and the traditional tantra goddness as believed by the Indian lores. A story emerges that Shiva is also depicted as the “Destroyer.” The Destroyer apparently was re-incarnated into Kali and defeated several demons.

The myth to this story is that the Destroyer beheaded vanquished demons. Once the demons were beheaded their heads were laid out to dry up and shrivel. Now here is the real eye opener to this myth. Once the heads dried up (can you imagine heads all dried up and shriveled) the Destroyer adorned himself with the dried up heads. Now I certainly can think of prettier things to wear on my head. Here is where the Rudraksha beads come into the story line. Shiva followers wear Rudraksha beads to represent defeated demons who got their heads chopped off by the Destroyer. After reading this story you may become a devout follower of Rudraksha beads and never be without them in your wardrobe ever again. On the other hand, you may avoid Rudraskha beads forevermore. You have the right to choose of course, yet, if you wore the beads without being the superior being they represent, you will be denounced by the Tandra teacher or master.

One might ponder the thoughts of well what is the significance of wearing a tantra. According to Indian lore there is great significance, so you have to believe the entire story before you derive any kind of reason to wear these beads, that is, if you wear them for the spiritual reasons some of the believers of this story wear them.

A tandra teacher may explain the significance of wearing Rudraksha beads in a much different way than someone who has no knowledge whatsoever of their importance. If one follows the ancient science of life and love there is a mandate to rid one’s life of demons in the same way Shiva did before wearing the beads for the spiritual pride of attaining this status.

What are the demons of a person’s life? Among them is (1) jealousies; (2) selfishness; (3) hatred; (4) lust, and various other negative emotions that torture and defile a human life. Here is where I see some similarities to my own Christian faith in that I do believe these same emotions are triggered through the “evil spirits” in our environment. My way of dealing with these is quite different from those who follow after the Shiva.
Other similarities I see within this belief are that these follow the study of ancient tandra often lead by a “gifted tantra master.” In my Christian belief I believe people in certain sects or groups are lead by gifted leaders possessing the Holy Ghost.

As one progresses through this belief you become acquainted with the negative emotions of jealousy, anger, and so on within yourself and others on a continuing basis, perhaps experiencing times in which they are not, and then times in which they are. There are specific tantra instructions and rituals to which you learn that will help you gradually get rid of the negative emotions and evolve into a mature, superior spiritually lead person instead. This also is comparable to my own Christian belief in that each time we overcome the negative emotions in our life we win favor with the God we believe in which is the Father in heaven, and his son Jesus Christ. Eventually the person who overcomes become a mature and superior spiritual being having promise of an everlasting life in the Kingdom of Heaven after death.

The ultimate state for people who follow after Shiva and this Indiana lore is also one in which is greatly desirous and a time in which you are able to wear a chain of Rudraksha beads. The symbol here is that you are a person who has reached a superior state of being and have defeated the demons that hinders progress to the ultimate spiritual realm to live within. I suppose a comparison here with my own Christian belief system which is through the Pentecostal faith is that some of these people, I am not included in this group, believe the symbol of being superior spiritually in this world is to wear a prescribed outer uniform and special hair style. In addition, no jewelry of any kind.

The beads have a variety of mystical properties as well. When one has reached the state of superior spirituality and is able to wear the beads to prove their achievement the beads help to reduce blood pressure, and help detoxify the human’s digestive system for cleansing and greater ability to focus the mind upon those things of greater importance. The beads are an aid for “tantra meditation.” In comparison here to my own belief system, this ritual would be called “fasting,” which is going without water and food to cleanse the digestive system and break down the flesh for deeper prayer and meditation, all without the help of the beads of course.

There is a difference in just wearing the Shiva’s traditional adornment and wearing the adornment only when one’s mind has reached the point of “understanding” and one’s behavior corresponds to Shiva’s traditional adornment symbol. I see a comparison here to my own belief system in that a person can go without food and water and not meditate or go deeply into prayer. A person can wear the prescribed uniforms and hair styles and not attain the spiritual status, which in my belief system, that person would be called a hypocrite instead of a pure and perfect person. The Shiva’s belief is similar in that anyone can wear the beads around their neck, but when the beads are worn around the neck of a person who has actually attained a superior place overcoming the demons of his or her life with the behaviors to coincide they have the added benefits of warding off physical and mental diseases.

Traditional tantra teachers will stand firmly against people or their students wearing the adornments without fully understanding their meaning and what they stand for. Fact is wearing Rudrakshas Beads is the symbol of the fact that the person has overcome basic desires such as lust and drives and is committed to the study and behavior of the truth as is known to them through this particular Indian lore.

Written by: Connie Limon, Bead Jewelry Artisan

Meet Cece:

dangle earrings cece

Cece is a pair of dangle earrings I added to Carmilita’s Simplicity Collection of Dangle earrings. She hangs about one inch from the hook.

Materials Used:

2 Silver Plated 11 x 15 mm Leverback earring hooks
10 Silver Plated 2″ Ball Pins
10 Smokey Quartz 6 x 4 mm Glass Crystal Rondelles
2 Crystal AB 8 x 5 mm Glass Crystal Rondelles
2 Black Onyx 10 mm Semiprecious Rounds

Cece’s Price: $15 (includes shipping). Purchase Cece from this site and receive a free gift in your package.

See more selections of Bead Jewelry here: Carmilita’s Earrings

Purchase Cece here: Carmilita’s Earrings