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The Glass Bead Game

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My cousin is here from India and will be attending the Bead and Button Show, the largest show of its kind in the country, that is going to be held at the Midwest Airlines Center, Milwaukee, WI, for three days starting from the 17th July. Though I do want to talk about it but I know zilch about beads (at least the ones worn and displayed on the decent parts of the body) yet the loose beads that I saw in the stores did look good.

The detailed workmanship and lampwork on each bead had me wondering how come the gold and diamond jewelry found here in USA is coarse and unfulfilling for the woman’s soul. Before the women reading this decide to have me tarred and feathered for making a supposedly shocking statement,let me say that machine made jewelry cannot compete with that made by hand.

In the world of Indian jewelry, for example, there are specialized craftsmen who make jewelry which comes under various categories as Kundan work (unpolished diamonds are set in gold), Menna work (includes gold and other precious stones)or creating simple gold necklaces with breathtaking intricate designs.

Stores like Tiffany do have jewelry that easily outshines any stuff produced by the Indian artisans but these bubbles are inaccessible to average American women due to the price tag attached to them.

Ignorance might be bliss but why haven’t the women who buy generic jewelry from malls realize that the glass and bead jewelry found here in America are far more beautiful than what they can afford in gold and diamonds.

When I see couples buying stuff from these stores all I can think is- ‘poor suckers are wasting their hard earned money’. A fat rock on the finger looks gaudy and the owner a noveau riche idiot. But a delicate moonstone lovingly set by hand on a thin wire hugging a slender finger shows taste and finesse.

My cousin’s excitement with this upcoming exhibition has been rather contagious especially for the reasons stated above. Though I have my share of family heirlooms, yet the urge to wear them is missing.

The jewelry passed down are family heirlooms and they have significant sentimental value, yet I’d rather wear the bead jewelry made by American artisans as their simple beauty is unsurpassed plus I have finally realized that diamonds, rubies etc are just status symbols.

Since I don’t move in snooty circles with trophy wives decked in fat baubles, my diamonds can cool their heels in the locker and I can expand my horizons into the world of grand yet affordable beauty.

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About Deepti Lamba

  • I would enjoy walking this bead festival. There is artistic prowess on display.

    I have been known to make my mother and girlfriends (down the line) necklaces, that mark a certain aspect of their personality – at least my vision of that.

    They are loved and worn often.

    If you go – promise me pictures ??? Please.

  • Sure T, didn’t know you were bitten by the bead bug too 🙂

  • Nancy

    Some cultures have created items of clothing or adornment that are beyond normally beautiful; Indian jewelry & saris are a couple, as are Japanese kimono, to name a few. I have very seldom seen Indian jewelry/saris etc. I haven’t lusted over, in my heart & everywhere else, lol! Beads, too. Alas, I am a beadaholic and a fabriholic. The fruits of my evil addictions include an entire carton of assorted beads & beadwork, more jewelry than I like to think about and can possibly wear, and 26 – count ’em, 26 – cartons of various fabrics I will never sew because I can’t stand to cut up these lovely designs into mundane wearable items. I pull them out, determined to Do Something with them – and put them right back again after mooning over them. I’m SO glad this exhibit is in Milwaukee; that’s far enough away I’m somewhat safe…until it comes to my city!

  • Nancy, like you my cousin is another beadaholic and is going to be attending a whole bunch of beading and bead making workshops starting tomorrow.

    I,on my end, am looking forward to buying jewelry from top artists and taking pics of the exhibition.

  • Beads,in myriads of hues,cast a spell that’s hard to ward off….the colours,the textures,the shimmer,the gleam entice you to feel them….create tangible sentiments
    that communicate more than just the wearer’s style statement….it’s all about perceptions and interpretations….of the maker(of the beads and the piece),the wearer….and the audience…..

    It is this magic that has got me to Milwaukee all the way from India to witness the creations and experience the creative processes involved in making beautiful jewelry..and therefore statements…right from making beads…to weaving them into dimensional expressions….to witnessing the creative communicative skills of artists from around the globe whose work will be on display at Bead Dreams,2005…the beading competition.

    I look forward to great learning and tremendous evolution.

  • Yeah pictures !!!

    Do we have SP’s relative online with us? If so, welcome.

  • Yes,it is.Thank you.I’ll be glad to post pictures.

    Feels good to sample blogging.