Lost Cities Beads- A Place For the Unique

Friday, October 28, 2011

Antique Bead Collection: Pema-Raka

Pema Raka, in all it's ancient red-orange glory.

We've got some new additions to our ancient and antique beads case.
These red-orange Pema Raka (also known as Pemma Raka) hail from western Tibet and Sinkiang province and were made into beads prior to 1000 AD. We've had some Pema Raka beads in the past, but they were quite different from these. These are smaller, rounded beads and were particularly used in malas (prayer beads).

Pema Raka (left) and natural red coral (right) both exhibit highly desired red tones. Despite Pema Raka's more red-orange color, it is still prized by the Tibetan people.

The name Pema Raka is believed to have come from the sanskrit words Padma (meaning lotus flower) and Rakta (red or blood) translating to 'blood lotus' or 'red lotus'. These beads are also referred to as 'stone of the right color' (no doubt due to their closeness in color to coral beads). The color red is auspicious in Tibetan culture and considered sacred. Pema Raka has sometimes been referred to as "poor mans coral", but it has been treasured for its own unique qualities that make it an equally collectible bead.

Pema Raka pieces featuring natural "eyes".

For centuries the Tibetan people have used Pema Raka as protection from evil spirits and illness. They were also used as an important ingredient in Tibetan medicine. Some pieces feature natural white banding which can form "eyes" in the stone. These "eyes" are believed to specifically protect the wearer from the evil eye.

Robin is modeling our necklace of Pema Raka hand picked by the owner, Christina. This necklace is on display in the store and could be all yours for $247.

If you'd like to know more about these beads or other ancient Tibetan beads, we encourage you to seek out these books; The Jewelry of Nepal by Hannelore Gabriel and The History of Beads by Lois Sherr Dubin. The first book is no longer in print and maybe be difficult to find (such a shame, it's a beautiful book) but the other two are back in print and would make wonderful additions to any beaders collection. For a quick refresher you can visit our website http://www.lostcitiesbeads.com/ or better yet, come in for a visit! We'd be happy to share our bead knowledge with you!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Cubic Zirconia

We've got some great Cubic Zirconia to share with you today! Cubic Zirconia is ideal for jewelry designs. Not only are they wonderfully glittery, but they're also very hard (about an 8.5 on the Mohs hardness scale) making them extremely durable and suitable for everyday wear. And affordable! Can't forget that part.

Check them out!

Faceted Rondelles 4mm, 6mm and 8mm
8mm in clear and black.
6mm in light champagne, medium champagne, black, garnet, ruby, amethyst, olive.
4mm in clear, light champagne, medium champagne, olive, amethyst, and ruby.
3mm in olive, blue, amethyst and ruby.

$31-$41 per 6 inch strand
*Except for the 4mm blue, those bad boys are $62 per 6 inch strand*

Yes, you read right. $62 per strand for those beautiful aquamarine colored CZ's. The reason? To make CZ's in different colors, manufacturers add specific minerals to produce certain colors. To make blue they add erbium and neodymium, minerals that tend to be more rare than the minerals used to make pink, purple, champagne etc.

Tear drops in black, olive, light champagne, dark champagne, ruby, garnet, light amethyst and amethyst.
$35 per 5 inch strand

Ovals in black, clear, light champagne, dark champagne, garnet and olive.
$25 per 6 inch strand

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Red Velvet is back!

And in three great sizes! Red Velvet is without a doubt the most popular color in Chinese crystal we've ever had. It's not hard to see why....it's the perfect red.

Red is historically a difficult color to produce in glass. The origins of red glass are unknown but thought to have been discovered during the production of the Lycurgus Cup made by Roman artisans in the 4th century. Historians believe his technique was accidentally discovered and was not reproduced successfully until the 17th century. In the past, artisans would mix gold and acid (making gold chloride) and add a small amount of the mixture to molten glass. Thankfully, modern artisans can substitute the gold mixture with copper and still produce beautiful reds. With the ever climbing gold prices, can you imagine how expensive red glass would be if we still only used gold chloride?

Perfect for Halloween (even vampires need necklaces) and great for Christmas (admittedly I'm not ready for that just yet...but I know there are some of you early birds out there who are!). We've got them in 6mm, 8mm and 10mm. All are faceted rondelles and range in cost from $6.30-$9.30 per 16 inch strand.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Shipment: Large Hole Pearls

Finally! Pearls with PRE-DRILLED large holes! And in such pretty colors! Be still my beading heart.

Bronze, silver and a greenish-peacock.

9mm-10mm, $29-$32 per 16 inch strand

White in a few large sizes.

9mm-11mm, $31-$49 per 16 inch strand

These holes are so large that you can easily string them or knot them on a variety of fun fibers. We've got them on leather, waxed cotton, satin, synthetic suede....so many choices! Sure was fun trying them all out! And we didn't stop at fiber...

...they easily slide onto our sterling silver and gold filled chains as well! What a inexpensive, fast, sweet necklace! I like that they easily move about on the chain, makes for a great worry bead.

The choices are endless....come in and play with us and find the combonation that suits you!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Treasures: Round Pearls

Pearls are every beader's friend. You can always use some round pearls in your bead stashes. They're just so easy to incorporate into jewelry pieces. Use them as spacers, feature them as the main attraction or knot them on their own. With pearls you really can't lose. True story. Here's whats new to our collection of pearls....

Classic pearly whites in multiple sizes. Accent with pearls or faceted quartz for all your wedding themed pieces.

4mm-6mm, $12-$13 per 16 inch strand

An assortment of fun colors in smaller sizes. Perfect as inexpensive spacers or left alone for a delicate look. I'm really drawn to the pinks on the right side of the quarter. Look closely and you'll notice that each strand has slightly mixed shades of pink and peach!

4mm, $5-$10 per 16 inch strand

Gorgeous large rounds in silvery greys and peacock blues. The luster on these are simply amazing! Pair with gemstones for a simple, yet show stopping knotted strand (I've done garnets with the dark peacock before but you could always play it safe with iolite or aquamarine ;).

10mm, $36 per 16 inch strand