When I started crafting jewelry in 1997, I was instantly drawn to use bali style beads in my jewelry collection. It was as if a past life was staring at me and I felt right at home. A vision of the bustling markets, the smell of incense, the chatter of business owners bartering filled my head. Throughout the years I have continued to use bali elements in my jewelry. I feel connected to the old world artistry and charm.
The artistry of Bali, an island and the smallest province in Indonesia, has been passed down over the centuries. The island is home to many skilled metalworkers that handcraft the fabulous silver beads known as Bali beads.
Metalworking originated in the Bronze Age in Southeast Asia and has a beauty of its own. Characteristics specific to Bali jewelry include delicate filigree work accented by tiny beads of granulation that is placed on each piece by hand, like these “flower” earrings. Bali jewelry also can have a strong geometric feel like these “Shield” earrings.
Balinese artistry is found in the architecture and landscape. Bali temples, or “puras,” have pagoda-like tiers intended for open air worship. Their design is simple with clean lines, and yet, complex and geometric. Elaborate gates surround the temples and are sculpted into floral patterns, either in stone or wood. Skilled artisans, such as sculptors and metalworkers have carried down their traditions through the generations.
The Bali beads used in my bali jewelry collection can stand alone as a design center piece, but they can also be used to accent precious materials and gemstones for a more elaborate design. A Bali bead accents this Red Venetian Heart necklace, made of Murano glass. The filigree work adds to the regality of the piece; it’s truly made for a Queen!
It’s remarkable that we can now touch, see and wear jewelry from far away places we may never visit. Whether it’s beads from Bali or Murano glass, I feel truly lucky to be able to design with these amazing materials from around the world and create adornments full of history.
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