LFrank Glass Bead Necklaces
November 19, 2014
“I have always loved working with beads, both precious and semi-precious, and have used them from the very start of my career in jewelry design. African trade beads, and antique beads in general have long captivated me, but it was my friend Billy Steinberg who really opened the floodgates to my deeper appreciation of them. Billy has a truly awe-inspiring collection of beads, and through his network of contacts I was able to start a little collection of my own. I am especially fond of the pieces I have purchased from Joe Loux, who is based in San Francisco, but travels the world with his wife Katie gathering tribal jewelry and artifacts. In a contemporary sense, there is a lively and very special enduring tradition of bead making in West African countries, where the knowledge and skills are passed down through generations. The particular beads that I use are made using recycled glass, which is all done by hand using age-old techniques of pulverizing the glass, adding color, and then firing them in kilns made of earth. These beads are not only beautiful, but they play an important role in the many different rituals of West African society. I also use many vintage and antique African trade beads in my work, some dating back hundreds of years.” “Some beads are chosen for color, some for age and pattern, but all for how they will look layered together with the 18k gold beads that I mix in. I like asymmetry in these pieces, so I try to find a balance of colored beads to gold that makes sense and lets both the beads and the gold share the spotlight. These are so easy to wear, and everyone looks good in them, as the length is adjustable. The colors range from muted to vibrant… so, there is something for everyone. I think seasonally, with the lighter and brighter colors making a splash for the spring and summer months, and the darker, more saturated colors predominating in the fall and winter. I offer these classic necklaces on leather cords, with an adjustable 18k gold bead at the back of the neck, so the wearer can find the perfect length. I also have begun making longer African trade bead necklaces, which I have strung on the LFrank signature violet silk cord. For these pieces, I mix in not only 18k gold beads, but also stones: moonstone, labradorite, and Tahitian pearls as well.” “I am inspired by anything that has a history, and a sense of sentiment and purpose, while existing also as a beautiful creation. That basically sums up these beads perfectly. I have always been drawn to the idea of a culture creating beauty, and when I imagine these beads being made, it always makes me smile. I wear an antique African trade bead necklace everyday, and have done for years. Mine has a single 18k gold bead, and also a single dark gray Tahitian pearl. The beads are a dark blue and gray pattern, and are over 100 years old.” Glass beads adorning the vintage art deco leather sofa in Liseanne’s office. The indigo cloth is also from Africa, as is the vintage Kuba cloth pillow. As an exclusive to LFrank clients, if you purchase a Glass Bead Necklace online or in-store throughout the month of November, you will receive a Frankincense Beeswax Candle as a gift from us.