Tibetan bead necklaces

August 24, 2008 at 9:34 pm 3 comments

I know, I know. The timing is remarkable, but it isn’t really and I’ll tell you why. A year ago, a dear friend of mine, Sharon, visited Tibet. She returned with a brimming bag of beads. She dropped it by my house with one request: “make me a bunch of necklaces that I can give to my family for Christmas.” Well, I did. She also told me to keep half of the necklaces I made, and I did, with the intention of putting them on the website as soon as possible. Here we are, a year later and they are finally going up on the website just in time for the crazy Tibet/Olympics political mess. I have unconsciously impeccable timing.

I was inspired by a book of paintings by a Tibet artist that Sharon also brought back with her. He did portraits and landscapes, very modern and bold with the brush. Not many hands with bracelets pictured in the collection, so I just emulated necklaces. Tibetan women seem to wear many many layers of these necklaces, which must get pretty heavy, because the beads are not lightweight and some of these necklaces are quite heavy.

All of the necklaces are restrung on leather cord for long lasting wear and strength. The beads are made of many things; wood, glass, and yak bone (I think it’s bone). The yak beads have an odor, a lanolin smell, the oil associated with wool and sheep is called. It’s a little bit medicine-like, but not unpleasant. When Sharon first told me the yak beads stank, I thought they were going to smell like manure. So glad they don’t. Those probably would not have sold very well. As for the brightly colored stones that are silver, blue, red and orange, I can’t be sure they are actually silver, turquoise, coral and amber, but I’m sure that is what they are supposed to represent. Sharon told me when she was buying the beads, the women selling them would clack the turquoise-like pieces against their teeth and say in a really heavy accent, “Real turquoise.” Sharon tells me that it probably isn’t, but my attitude is, “It came from Tibet; who cares.”

The first nine pictures are all the necklaces I made for Sharon to give to her family members. She tells me that they were well liked.

Tibet Necklaces in Handmade PouchesMost of these beads were originally in a prayer bead format. I’m not sure how traditional the arrangement of black and white is for Tibet, but the symbolism of dark and light is an ancient one. These are wood and plastic beads, I think. 

Tibet Necklaces in Handmade PouchesThese are mostly yak beads that are painted with red and blue and some with gold colored midline. The middle accent beads are supposed to represent turquoise and amber; again, I can’t actually be sure that is what they are.

Tibet Necklaces in Handmade PouchesHere we have wood beads, warm painted yak beads, amber and silver colored beads with turquoise. This necklace was made to be adjustable so it could easily be put over the head then tightened.

Tibet Necklaces in Handmade PouchesThis necklace is made of wooden, coral and metallic beads. 

Tibet Necklaces in Handmade PouchesTibet Necklaces in Handmade PouchesThese two lariat style necklaces were originally bracelets and I did not try to emulate the Tibetan style necklaces here. The green beads are glass and the black are wooden and plastic (I think). The second necklace has oval beads that are painted wood, plastic beads and some silver tone (I just can’t be sure they are silver or not).

Tibet Necklaces in Handmade PouchesThis is my favorite. Turqouoise, black wood, red yak and silver tone beads.

Tibet Necklaces in Handmade PouchesThe beads of this necklace, with the exception of the coral, amber and silver tone beads, are all from prayer beads. They are mostly wood, but I think the white ones are plastic. The lighter colored wood beads are carved with a design.

Tibet Necklaces in Handmade PouchesHere is the last of Sharon’s pieces. Adjustable and made mostly with yak beads, but including some coral and amber as well. 

Now for the items that are available for you. I made all the pouches that the necklaces will live in. They are pinwale corduroy and stretch velvet with grosgrain ribbons to pull on either side that cinch the bags closed.

Tibet Necklaces in Handmade Pouches

Tibet NecklaceTibet NecklaceThis necklace is made entirely of yak beads.

Tibet NecklaceTibet NecklaceYak and wooden beads with red and orange coral focal beads.

Tibet NecklaceTibet NecklaceYak and wooden beads with red and orange coral focal beads.

Tibet NecklaceTibet NecklaceYak and wooden beads with red imitation coral as the focal bead.

Tibet NecklaceTibet NecklaceYak, wooden beads, and imitation turquoise as the focal bead. The clasp is a loop with painted detailed bead.

Tibet NecklaceThis necklace has wooden prayer beads in round and flat round beads, yak beads, and beads that are supposed to be turquoise, coral and amber.

Tibet NecklaceThe beads of this necklace are yak, wood, glass, plastic, and silver colored.

Tibet NecklaceThis necklace is made out of wooden prayer beads and heavy red and orange pieces, that are supposed to resemble coral.

To conclude, thank you for visiting my website and blog! Enjoy these pieces!


Entry filed under: One of a kind. Tags: , .

New look just keeps getting better No More Large Copper Pearls

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor  |  September 19, 2008 at 12:21 am

    These necklaces are very beautiful. The packaging is a lovely touch! Are the faux Coral and Amber beads made of Polymer Clay? They look like they might be. Just wondering.

  • 2. maggiemakesit  |  September 19, 2008 at 1:59 am

    I don’t know if they are polymer clay or not. If there is a way for me to test the elements of the beads, I would love to know.

  • 3. Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor  |  September 19, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    I’d have to hold the beads to really know. Polymer clay does have a distinctive smell when baking. If you were to warm the beads in a cup of hot water you would probably be able to smell them if they were polymer clay. Other than that I don’t know of any tests for identifying it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


August 2008
« Jul   Sep »

Most Recent Posts

%d bloggers like this: