The globe-trotting, visionary directrice
at Happy Mango Beads
, Rudi Taylor, turned me onto their ancient Roman glass beads
, and challenged me to dream up a design incorporating them. These glass disc beads are both beautiful and fascinating:
"This ancient Roman glass was found in the Nimroz province of Afghanistan and dates between 900 & 1200 years old, it was excavated 4-5 years ago. Glass has not been produced in this area for 900 years. The iridescence is caused by the centuries of decomposing and weathering of the hydrated silica (sand used in making the glass)."
Every one of the little pieces of artistic history in this piece is completely different--the hues vary from ephemeral celery to sea green to palest aqua; some are glassy clear like shallow coastal waters, and some are milky like frosted glass; some bear creamy accretions like sea spume and barnacles; some are chunky and rustic; some are delicate and wafer thin. Most are about the size of a penny or a nickel.
I wanted to make the most of the colors, textures and shapes of these glass wafers, and so decided to use them as you would a button, so that most of their surface would be showing. I fastened them onto a hand-forged base of sterling silver wire with ball headpins, reinforcing and embellishing them with other disc beads made of turquoise, bone, glass, and sterling silver. (You'll recall the necklace I did with brass, lampwork and wood discs recently--that was a bit of a prototype for this one):
Roughly tumbled, watery aquamarines and bone beads in ivory seemed a natural compliment to these beads, as did deerskin lacing in a soft palomino color. Hammered, hand-formed beadcaps in nickel, and a pewter toggle clasp mirror the sterling silver wire.
If you're curious how this necklace was created, check out the tutorial
, and see more of Happy Mango Beads ancient Roman treasures