My Apothecary Chest: in 1994, it arrived via container to California from Hong Kong, where I discovered beading during an ex-pat assignment there. Serves as the repository for my beads. Handcrafted. It has 52 Drawers.
2017 Challenge: Create a Necklace a Week, using only the Beads from one Drawer at a time. Voila! 52 Necklaces!
Week 14/Drawer 14: April 5, 2017: “Birdsong”
Having lived in Asia for a year and a half, I enjoyed using bone beads and buying beautifully carved bone centerpieces. Bone beads are popular all over the world and come from organic antlers or horns from animals such as oxen, cows, camels, and water buffalo who died naturally. In Hong Kong, I found three variations of bone beads: natural white, tea-dyed, and otherwise dyed. Later on, visiting my husband’s son and his family in Bozeman, MT, I bought some beads made from deer hooves which looked like a dark wood.
This drawer features natural white oval beads and spacer beads. The clasp is a bone ring and a toggle charmingly “painted” brown which I thought spoke to the centerpiece.
The centerpiece is 2” x 2.5” with a lovingly carved scene of birds in leafy tree branches. It is inlaid into a piece of rosewood, also well-carved. Turn it over and the artist, proud of his work, embedded his signature in a perfect circle. This is the only Chinese carving intended for jewelry I have ever seen signed.
The Chinese started carving bone in the 5th century BCE for use as tools. Attracted to its natural beauty, they evolved their carvings to adornment.
The necklace is 18” long plus 2” for the centerpiece. Earrings included. $75.