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jade newThis is a lovely hand-carved pendant of natural Nephrite Jade from New Zealand. Maori designs carved in jade are steeped in religious and spiritual belief. They tell stories of ancestors long lost, depict spirits from the heavens, earth, and underworld, show historical lineage and paint images of the natural world that surround and surrounded them. They are no doubt beautiful, but they’re more than a form of art. For Maori they create a strong connection with their ancestors and the natural world they live in. It was believed by Maori that as a carving was worn against the skin it absorbed some of that person's essence. As carvings were passed down through the family they absorbed essence from each family member, creating a direct ancestral connection through the necklace itself. This is one reason why Maori design is so special, it is more than just an art form.

This special piece measures approx. 70 mm long (approx.. 2 3/4") x approx. 35 mm. (just shy of 1 1/2") at its widest point. Thickness is approx. 3 mm. Hole at top for hanging is approx. 2 1/2 mm. wide.

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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 Effetre™ 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:

http://www.venetianbeadshop.com/

Until Next Time,

Sheila

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