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red agateJust perfect for your Halloween creations -- these Red Agate Evil Eye beads are of stone that was formed from layers of silica from volcanic cavities. Agate is named after the Achates River (now known as the Dirillo River) on the island of Sicily, Italy, whose upper waters were an ancient source of this gemstone. Each strand offered here has 16 round faceted beads, with colors ranging from red to amber, as shown. Each bead is approx. 10 mm. with an approx. 2 mm. hole. Each strand is $10, but for a limited time, take 10% off with the code HALLOWEEN at checkout.


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Now...for today's blog post:

A little something you may not know about me...   My husband Jonathan is a student and teacher of Martial Arts and has an 8th degree black belt in the art they call Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu (incorporating Samurai and Ninja tactics). He studies with the Grand Master of this art in Japan--Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi.

blue glass beadBecause of this, I have been fortunate to go with him to Kyoto, the original capital of Japan. The city is very old, with many artistic traditions. While we were there, Jonathan worked at the hombu (dojo, or formal training place) while I went in search of beautiful beads.  

In Gion, an area of Kyoto where we stayed, there is a long tradition of art -- exhibited in Kimonos, the Geisha, Tea, Ceramics, Fans, exquisite fabric, and glass work. I should mention I have a large collection of beautiful fans, so it was difficult not to get sidetracked onto that...

But my mission was primarily to find beads, and I was not disappointed.

I found gorgeous, one-of-a-kind Kinari beads, handcrafted by local artists. Shown here are the ones we now have available for sale at the shop. The technique is a type of lampwork, or millefiori, and you can read more about this in our previous post 'Millefiori Beads'. The beads are not cheap, but if you have ever studied or observed the craft of lampwork, you will understand and appreciate the prices.

cherry blossomsOne thing I can say for sure -- besides the fact that Kinari beads are the most exquisitely beautiful beads ever -- is that you should think about visiting Japan -- especially in the springtime. We were so lucky to see the cherry blossoms in bloom -- here's what it looked like.

Until next time,



0 # Ellen W Gonchar 2014-04-15 00:45
The beads are exquisite and what a great honor it is for your husband to be able to study with the Grand Master Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi. My hubby spent a great deal of time in Japan while he was in the Marine Corps, when he wasn't in Vietnam, and truly appreciated the beauty and culture there.

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0 # Shan 2014-04-15 01:59
Thank you so much, Ellen! It has definitely been a privilege to learn so much about another country, and to see its natural beauty. I know from my mom that your husband was a very special guy -- we wish we had been able to meet him. Please have a wonderful day and keep all your great comments coming! :-)
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0 # Ellen W Gonchar 2014-04-15 02:23
Thanks Shannon........ yes he was a very special would have loved him if you had been able to meet him...
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