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-  VINTAGE & MODERN  Beads -



UNIQUE VINTAGE & MODERN Beads to create your own notable style jewellery!


Hello!

Whether you are a jewellery designer, a hobbyist or just love adornment, you will love creating with our vintage and modern beads which you can buy online or at craft shows.
I founded Etelage in 2002 as a result of never finding the unique style of beads I was after for my own jewellery designs. I love inspiring all to awaken their creative soul and seek beauty, slow, artisan and local...the joy of the maker culture!
Make it. Wear it. Live it.


Christine Smalley,
designer & educator
 

where we source our beads, stones and charms?

  • Bohemia the former hub of bead and jewellery manufacturing in the 19th and 20th century. Think former West Germany and Czechoslovakia for vintage plastics, wood, glass, crystals and stones
  • Czech Republic - I work closely with family run and individual artisan businesses who practice time honoured, hand made craft traditions plus source vintage beads from original makers, having tonnes of fun in musty and dusty basements unearthing incredible vintage finds
  • Venice, Italy for glass. They are infamous for their glass production since the 11century, need I say more.
  • Africa for fair trade ceramics and paper beads from Kenya and Uganda

wholesale beads

Australia's largest importers and distributors of Czech glass beads (including fire polished crystals, seed beads, bugles beads, two cut beads, handmade lampwork  etc) which we wholesale and sell in bulk to craft stores, bead shops and designers
SHOP WHOLESALE: click here

creative preneur guides & coaching

As a small shop owner of 12 years  one of the biggest conversation starters I had from customers was “how did you start Etelage?”
My private tuition jewellery students and others I have mentored, advised and helped over the years have had access to my experience in small biz which in turn lead me to create several resources.

Now I want to offer exactly the same to you!

Free Resources: click here
Business Coaching:  click here

testimonials

“I have had lots of comments on the quality of your beautiful brass. Love it all!” Sue QLD

"Every time I visit Etelage I always find something different to buy." Mandy MELBOURNE

"Thanks so much for promptly sending through my order! I've made a necklace for my girlfriend in New Zealand and was able to finish it in time as I'm going over there tomorrow. Many thanks." Barton SYDNEY:)

***GENERAL WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small beads & parts. Not for children under 6 yrs old.***

THE HISTORY OF BEADS

Jewellery, much of it in the way of beads is one of the oldest forms of adornment. It is not surprising then that beads are among the most common objects found at archaeological digs around the world. They range from the simplest pierced shells and seeds to technically worked precious metals. Beads therefore provide an unusually rich entrée into the social and artistic traditions of world cultures. For example, the cattle keeping pastoralists of Southern Africa, including the well known Massai, use bead work as a key method of indicating a person’s status and the stage in the life cycle an individual has attained. Beads are therefore a key element in the aesthetics of adornment that unites them. In Northern Africa, Berber jewellery identifies clan, symbolises wealth, reflects cultural traditions and acts as a source of supernatural and religious power for the wearer.
Did you know in Medieval Europe, including England, laws and decrees proclaimed that only certain classes of society could wear certain categories of jewellery?
The Egyptians were buried in their everyday jewellery whist the Chinese believed jade held magical qualities, thought to help the dead ascend to heaven. Even today beads have their own unique story.
Etelage beads are collected and sourced globally, all of which have a fascinating history, tale and adventure to tell. Some beads are old, some are new, and some are sentimental, whilst others are collectable and valuable.
I have purchased beads from the four corners of the globe including Silver from the East, Glass from Europe, Ceramics from Africa and Shell from Oceania from artisans, factories, community trade projects and markets. Some are mass- produced whilst others are still being made using time honoured ancient traditional techniques. Not only is the source diverse but the materials shapes and colours available on the global market are extraordinary. As an importer and bead artist I love innovation in design and consequently create new shapes, colours and finishes every fashion season. Yes, beads are also seasonal, at least in the west reflecting fashion trends and personal choice. Experiment combining such diverse materials as glass, semi precious, metal, clay, and shell in such shapes as cubes, squares, petals and coins. I do. The result of choosing unique shapes and materials along with unusual and unexpected colour combinations give my designs an innovative edge.   With such choice today you too are able to create your own unique contemporary jewellery. However do not limit beads just to jewellery making. The use of beads is endless. I love to use them to embellish almost anything, including decorating chandeliers, canvases and embroidery. 

take a look at beads – the meaning

Our English word ‘bead’ comes from the old English ‘gebed’ meaning ‘prayer’, probably because of its association with rosary beads, a string of prayer beads used by Catholics.

 

The shorter Oxford English dictionary defines “bead” as a small perforated body, of glass, amber, metal, wood etc., used as an ornament.’ This gives us a starting point however beads can be anything – and almost anything can be a bead. To only consider beads available in the definition of listed materials compromises what started as a hobby for me, is now my full time vacation.

 

 

Craft ‘items lovingly made with the human hand from raw materials with traditional craftmanship’, It can be functional as well as decorative, often with a great story behind it. A new term ‘the new design’, represents us the craftsperson, hobbyist, artist, designer and artisan.

This is a relatively inexpensive hobby with only a few tools required to get started. Beads can be easily stored and are easily portable.

So why not be a part of the craft generation embracing traditional skill and adding a modern interpretation?

 

 SHOP ALL BEADS: click here


 

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