Have you seen or worked with porcelain beads or pendants? They are often hand-painted, some with exquisitely detailed patterns. Each is one of a kind, so there are always slight variations due to the handmade nature. This can be a fun and beautiful component for unique jewelry designs. Here is a bit more about porcelain.
Porcelain is the finest among all clays. It is the purest and finest textured clay found on earth. It is made from Kaolin clay and other minerals that were found in China around 700 AD. Originally, most of the fine pottery and ceramic products were exported from the orient and they were primarily made from this elegant clay. Chinese artisans found a way to fire the clay to the hottest temperatures (up to about 2500 degrees Farenheit) which is necessary to mature it to a very hard and non-porous state. Fired porcelain is glass-like and impermeable.
It is believed that porcelain was named by the French who compared its translucent beauty to part of a seashell that they named “little pig” porcellana (cowrie shell) or porcelain. For many years, China porcelain was highly sought after for its beauty and delicacy. Traders shipped it all over Europe and it became high demand around 1200 – 1400 AD. Until sometime in the 17th century, the only place to get porcelain or china was from China. Only in relatively recent history have the mysteries of working with porcelain and other locations for natural resources become available to the world outside of China.
No matter how it is painted, porcelain is elegant. Chalk and translucent paints are also beautiful on porcelain.
You can see some of the lovely specimens shown here, made by our Etsy colleagues. From top to bottom are:
Porcelain ‘Pod’ Beads by GreyBirdStudio
Porcelain Pendants by WhiteCloverKiln
Blue Porcelain Pendant by JeanaWells
Porcelain Slab Pendants by KiyoiDesign
And here’s a book to get you started in case you want to learn about making your own:
And a nice little blog post with some helpful links:
ArtBeadsis another great source for beautiful porcelain beads – check out their page here:
And check out great porcelain bead/pendant makers here: Ceramic Bead Artists
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Until Next Time,