What is Beading?

Beading can be defined as a process of stringing beads on any string or attaching them to any material or object. It can be done by hand or by using mechanical tools. This ancient craft has been used by humans for many centuries. It is used to make jewelry and accessories. It is also used to embellish articles like clothing, bags, bedding, shawls, and scarves to name a few.

Origin and History

Beading is one of the oldest crafts in the world. It is believed to be more than 100,000 years old.  Some historians even date this craft back to 300,000-100,000 B.C.! The materials used in the early days were vastly different from the material we use in modern times. For example, early humans used natural materials like shells, seeds, stones, bone fractures, etc. Sinews and plant fibers were used as threads. Needles were made from bones and wood. Most of the earliest beadwork has not survived because the threads have disintegrated over time. However, it is stunning to unearth some of the ancient artifacts and discover the ingenuity of early humankind.  The earliest known jewelry might be a pair of beads made from sea snail shells. It is estimated to be approximately 100,000 years old.  

Mala Beads

Who invented Beading?

Archaeologists have unearthed beaded articles from all over the world. As a result, we cannot ascribe this craft to any single culture or nation. It seems like people all over the world discovered different ways to make beading paraphernalia using materials from their surroundings. Each culture invented its unique technique and used it to embellish itself, its clothing, its houseware, etc. Each culture contributed to this beautiful craft in its own way. For example, we got Filigree beads from Greece, Quill creations from Central America, Faience beads from Egypt, Turquoise and silver work from Native Americans, and lustrous Murano glass beads from Italy!

Beading has evolved from very basic bone pendants to sophisticated diamond and pearl jewelry. Now it is a very popular pastime hobby for adults and children all over the world. 

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Author: Yogchakra

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