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Buying beads in Bancroft

gemboree1 027, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Rock enthusiasts of Ontario and surrounding regions – it is now less than a month to go before the Bancroft Gemboree. I try and make a point of attending each year as does my wife Maggie.

One of the trends that I see emerging at the gemboree is its increasing focus on semi precious beads. Beads have a long and fascinating history; they were amongst the first forms of adornment and also, because of their value, experts soon found a way to make simulations – the Romans were experts at various cleverly crafted fakes.

Myans and Olmecs were big on beads. In having visited the Jade Museum in San Jose we saw some amazing examples. Because of the labour involved in crafting beads of nephrite and other tough materials the bigger the bead found at a burial, the more important the person is assumed to have been.

What follows is a small quote from my book on Ontario’s rock and mineral deposits – just a tease in recognition of the trend …

” Himalayan shepherds sometimes find etched agate beads lying in their fields. The cultural origins are unknown, though the finds are considered a good omen as the bead is thought to be a talisman that will protect its wearer from disaster. Known as dZi beads, they are believed by locals to be petrified insects, or possibly beads that the gods had dropped due to their imperfection. Very few are found in perfect condition and in light of their supposed insectivorous nature, dust must first be thrown over the bead if you are to capture it in your hand. To simply grab it without the “dust tossing precaution” means that you risk the possibility of it wriggling away”.

If beads interest you , consider checking out Maggie’s online bead shop at http://www.maggiebeads.etsy.com – she sells various beading kits and ships within 1 working day.

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