Monday, July 23, 2012

Cool drink of water

The bracelet that started it all.  This delicate, yet everyday wearable bracelet, was the item that kick started "Bev's Beadz".  I made the first one for myself, as I do with all of my items, and found myself wearing it everywhere.  I was a bartender for many years and always wore my own designs to work.  My customers would compliment me on the jewelry and always asked ,"where did you get that?"   It seemed  that when they were told that it was one of my creations, it piqued their curiosity.  The ladies were asking me to make one for themselves, and the men were ordering them for their wives. Christmas season was a big rush of working full time at the bar, running a household and making jewelry every spare minute I had.  With the encouragement from my husband, Bev's Beadz" was founded in 2010.   I'm now retired from bartending and find myself designing and creating jewelry pretty much 24/7.  The old cliche " do what you love and it never feels like work" true it is!  Desert Waters Bracelet available at

Friday, July 13, 2012

How my addiction started....

 Mention the word "addition" and most people would think of all kinds of bad habits.  My addiction is beads, and more specifically, antique Trade beads. I have been making jewelry for a long time, with frequent trips to the local craft stores. Stringing beads was relaxing for me, while at the same time I was expressing my creative side, and turning out a finished piece of jewelry.  Little did I know that my love for working with my hands, was about to take on a whole new world.  We were living in Pennsylvania at the time, and Saturdays were spent exploring, be it a farmer's market, flea market, antique shop,etc. I can remember it like it was yesterday, going into a shop whose sign read "The Importer". After perusing the furniture, baskets, carved wooden boxes, all things that I just had to have, I spotted a staircase  tucked away in the corner of the building.  It led to a small room containing jewelry making supplies. And there they were......small compartments on a table top, each designed to hold a sampling of beads from around the world.  Being that red is my favorite color, my eyes were immediately drawn to these beauties.  Their name is "African Green hearts". The term "green hearts" is because the centers of the beads are green glass, the outer part is the most beautiful shade of red I have ever seen. To me  the color  speaks volumes;  dark, warm, earthy, aged and well worn. This particular strand of beads in the photo, came from Ghana where they were made in the early 1800's.  I no longer cared about the treasures downstairs, I had to have these beads! Discovering those beads that day, brought back memories of the lessons learned in grade school about Trade beads and how they were once used as currency. Now years later, I was standing there holding history in my hands.  I felt as if I was stepping back in time. I was hooked, from that day on, I have been collecting many different types of the ancient beads and incorporating
them into my designs. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What ARE Trade beads?

Trade Beads
I have been collecting Trade beads for 20 plus years. During the past 2 years since starting my jewelry business "Bev's Beadz", I have been asked that question more times than I care to remember.  It puzzles me as to why people don't  know this? Were you absent that day in grade school ? Do the schools no longer teach that? I remember learning about beads and how they were once used as currency hundreds of years ago. It was the barter system. We didn't always have coins and dollar bills!  Millions of beads were once produced in Venice, Italy and made their way to Western Africa where they were traded for gold, palm oil, slaves, etc. We're talking real history here folks. When you visit my website and browse my jewelry, you're not buying some shiny, glitzy beads from the local craft shop, you are getting a real piece of history. Trade Bead Jewelry....antiques you wear!

Billie June

Specialty Wrap, Billie June now available at
Specialty Wrap - Billie June
Wonder how a bracelet got this name? Well….these brightly colored glass beads were rolling around on my work bench one day, I liked the color combination. Started to add some things along the way. Now normally this color combo would not have appealed to me personally, not to say I wouldn’t create one to sell, but usually not my first choice. It was the 1st day of June, that day being my father’s birthday, although he has been gone for several years now. Feeling a bit nostalgic, and thoughts wondering back to dear old dad, made me think of something else. When I was very young I asked my mother how she & dad came up with my name. My father and my grandfather both had the name William, and he wanted to name me Billie. My mother was not having it, she wanted Jennifer, needless to say I didn’t end up with either one! So in honor of my dad…..Billie June was born. 

It has since become my favorite bracelet:)

Billie June on