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Pretty Jewelry from Natural Things

 
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My daughter and I have just planted Job's Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi) this week, which have traditionally been made into jewelry because they look, feel, and behave very much like beads. I had never heard of these until I read an old book (okay, it's from the 1960s, so not that old). It was too intriguing for me not to try and grow for my bead-loving and crafty daughter.

Now I am curious about what other things from nature can be made into jewelry?
 
Rachel Lindsay
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Whoa--look at these lovely seeds from the Turkish "Cekirdegi Oyali" (Crocheted Seed) Watermelon

Source

Earrings maybe?
 
Rachel Lindsay
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Oh, what could be done with these?

source

(If they are not eaten, that is, because this particular beautiful variety are a flint corn/popcorn!)
 
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I still keep the saga seeds picked years ago but don't know how to make jewelry out of them.
IMG_20230522_213418-2.jpg
Saga seeds twenty years old
Saga seeds twenty years old
 
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I've always liked the colored corn when dried. Dried Glass Gem corn looks neat, anyone ever made jewelry of it?



Edit: Ha! Me and Rachel were posting at the same time :D




 
May Lotito
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I am growing job's tear this year too. I grew up playing with the seeds since they grew wild in my subtropical home town. The biggest challenge stringing them was to center the holes. I was using a needle back then maybe I will use a drill this time.
 
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I've always thought the Abrus Precatorius Rosary pea plant was neat. People use it for beads, though the seeds contain Abrin, which is the most toxic chemical found in any plant in the world. Deadly dose is 0.00015% body weight (about a tenth of a milligram) according to wikipedia. One seed contains more than this.


 
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Imagine the tiniest drill bit... that's the one you'll likely need, in order to keep from shattering or splintering all your lovely new SEED beads!! Another tool that might come in handy is a bead reemer. These are used not only for widening the edges of the holes, but also for smoothing them. Your next question to think about, is moisture proofing those newly reemed beads.

But, boring holes isn't the only way to go, either. You could wire wrap them, or cage them, too.
May, those look almost like coral - just lovely!

Jordan, those beans bring lady bugs to mind - too fun!

I'm thoroughly intrigued by the crocheted watermelon and Job's tears!  I need to learn more!

Tulsi/ Holy Basil stems can be cut, dried, dyed or painted, and used as a light wooden type bead, as can elderberry stems and twigs. Walnut shells, very carefully & thinly sliced, make a lacy-looking drop pendent or earrings, and take paint and shellac, well. Tiny pebbles and shells can be painted or polished and used in so many ways, as can bone - which can also be cut in so many ways, dyed &/or polished and brought to a lovely sheen.
 
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The captions says Jewelry made from Cashew, Pisa Shells, Black Pepper and Mustard Seeds:


source


Pista Shells aka Pistachio Seed Shells


source

Persimmon Seeds:


source

Glass Gem Corn Seeds:


source
 
Jordan Holland
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Hey, if the beads are edible, it could be sold as "survival jewelry!"
 
pollinator
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As children we washed and towel dried melon seeds and made necklaces out of them, using a needle and thread. Sometimes we dyed them with ink but this tended to rub off on our necks. They were never intended to last long but just to keep us occupied on a wet day. We also used the strings of seeds to decorate the Christmas tree.
 
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Elaeocarpus angustifolius has nuts that are used to make rosaries.  They are very-thin fleshed blue fruit with round walnut-shell looking gnarly nuts.
 
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I carve tagua nuts for an Ivory like component. They have a void in the center but there is still a lot of material to carve.  Not my carving but gives you some idea.
tagua-nut.jpg
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carved-tagua.jpg
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What a great reminder that I have yet to plant any of the Job's Tears seeds that I have. I have been looking all over for things to make into beads. It began a while ago because I am an archaeology educator and I have been working on a curriculum centered around beads. They are a very old technology. Some of the earliest known beads were made of ostrich egg shell. I spent a day making beads from mussel shell with a friend. It takes some serious time. I should also mention we were working with primitive tools. My deep dive into beads has been a lot of fun, but now I am overwhelmed with all of the other stuff that I must attend. Hopefully I can at least collect some more interesting things. I will try to share some pictures when I figure out if they are on my phone or computer.
 
Pearl Sutton
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I was out planting today, thinking about this thread. I planted some Good Mother Stollard beans, ooh pretty!

That made me think of the Orca beans I planted a couple of years ago, they are elegant.

Then I looked in my pantry to see what else is cool, I have four colors of garbanzo beans...
Black

Dark brown

Light brown

Green

And thinking on Jordan's idea of survival jewelry, something made of all four colors of garbanzos would match my camo :D

Lots of beautiful beans out there that would be easy to grow and work with.  I may have to think on that!
:D
 
Jordan Holland
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Hyacinth beans are neat with a white stripe down the side.



 
Carla Burke
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I think this is a great way to salvage beautiful seeds that aren't viable, anymore.
 
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Hier in Brazil we call them biojewels.
 
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The wood from holly trees (which are often considered invasive) is very dense with very little grain. It's also white. Through history, it was used as a replacement for ivory.

It carves up really well, even from little sticks. I make hair sticks and tiny swords and staves for toys out of it. I can totally imagine carving it into pretty white beads, too!

all except the middle one were carved out of holly.
The tiny shovel and spoon were also carved out of holly
 
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May Lotito wrote:I still keep the saga seeds picked years ago but don't know how to make jewelry out of them.

I would drill a hole in them and use them as you would beads.
 
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All the diamonds in this world
That mean anything to me
Are conjured up by wind and sunlight
Sparkling on the sea


                   -Bruce Cockburn
 
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There is a woman who lives near me that makes such things and sells them. She is originally from a country in Africa and says it is a common thing there. My favorite of hers use squash or melon seeds as drop beads. This is one of hers I have, it is a double drilled long seed natural and a round seed that I think she has dyed or painted. When/if I see her again at an event I will ask her again about the culture of her work.

They can be both dyed and painted ;)
20230717_161115.jpg
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