This is indeed a statement necklace of subtle colours yet in chunky, rich beads full of stories.
The large central bead has been blown by the master glass blower in Venice, Moulaye Niang. Originally from Senegal, he train in Murano and became known as “Il Muanero, using complex glass techniques. In this case, he has burned silver into the glass. The bead is 33 mm.
Moulaye’s glass bead is flanked by vintage Chinese coins that have bronzed with age (24 mm), and on either side of the glass are two large (26.6 mm) woven like a basket weave, silver beads that are now quite rare. They are made by the Karen hill tribes in Thailand, as are the remaining silver beads made in a swirl design (21 mm).
Karen hill tribe Fair Trade silver is nearly 98% pure silver. I mostly choose to use their silver because each piece is like a miniature bit of sculpture, individually crafted and created. I know that artisans in Northern Thailand produce this unique silversmithing in small villages, involving whole families in the process. Their work is fairly paid, and as a result, their beads are much more expensive. But a family is supported and wonderful beads and jewellery are produced in high quality silver.
There are two more swirl glass beads in a blue and green glass with black swirl lines, hand blown in China (27 mm). These are also rare beads. China has a wonderful tradition in glass making, from Peking glass onto imitation Venetian glass with their own twist. These two beads were made at a time when Chinese craftsman were willing to spend the time making special glass. That period is now over. Hopefully it will return when glass blowers are honoured as artists.
Two good blue lapis beads (20 mm) follow on from the silver and then two soft minty green re-cycled and shaped glass beads (13 mm) from Nigeria finish off the design.
I have then knotted the silk/polyester cord with the traditional Chinese “flat knot” as well as the “button knot”. This is not only a classical Chinese technique, but it lightens the necklace and makes it quite comfortable to wear. It also sets off the design.
A silver toggle clasp has been used because toggle clasps are easy to use and secure. My silver name label is attached at the clasp. The clasp has been
made by the Karen hill tribes, of twisted silver to create a rope design.
The necklace comes, like all my necklaces, with it's own colour co-ordinated silk brocaded pouch bag, made by a Shanghai tailor.
The necklace is 19 inches long (48 cm)
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