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.