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Bead of the Week

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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venetian beadsThere's a very cool shop you can peruse online called The Venetian Bead Shop, and what's special about them is that they work directly with beadmakers in Venice and Murano.

These folks say that it's a very privileged friendship and collaboration. As they put it, "Doing business internationally has its risks; there are no 'laws' which cover commerce with individuals and small groups". And as global bead traders and buyers know, it's all about relationships. The owners provide the insight that "Venice is a very small place", and that their industry of handmade, artisan beadmakers is even smaller. Everyone knows everyone, and most are related by families or marriage.

The Venetian Bead Shop is a family-owned business. Theirs is a story of the love of Venetian glass, a fascination with the techniques of glass blowing and, of course, a love of Italy and its people & culture. It all started with a trip to Venice in 1984 when one of the owners purchased a Moretti glass necklace with the famous Murano beads. Many compliments and requests by friends prompted another trip and more purchases and sparked an interest in the glass. They began studying the language, and their love and appreciation of the people and the culture grew. Importing the wonderful glass of Murano became a natural extension of their new life in Italy with friends and family.

The company works directly with the Venetian beadmakers and glassblowers -- selecting and designing the styles, colors, shapes and sizes to be produced for their stores. They connect with all the major bead producers as well as a large group of cottage industry beadmakers who produce beads specifically for them.

rodsThe beads begin with Effetreâ„¢ glass canes, produced only on the island of Murano. Every bead is made by hand, one by one, using a few simple tools and the crafter's mastery in lampworking. Sitting behind torches for hours at a time, they hold a mandrel in one hand and a cane of glass in the other, and create some of the most beautiful beads in the world.

The beadmakers are quintessential artists, and the company works closely with them at every stage. Sometimes they collaborate to modify the tooling or design to make it easier to produce, without losing the beauty of the original design. And there are many other stages, from measuring things like the amount of glass, production time, and materials like gold or silver foil. It is hard work for everyone.

veniceAt the end of a day where everyone has argued over colors, techniques, delivery, designs, soccer teams and politics, there is always still time for a Brindisi (toast) together. And those lucky ducks -- they get to enjoy a beautiful sunset looking towards Venice from Murano. They say that's part of the secret of getting the best beads in all of Murano and Venice. Learn more about them here:

Until Next Time,


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