Since I was a little girl, I’ve liked flashy things. When I was young, I mooned over trinkets at Pier One decorated with bits of cut mirror. I also love a mix of “mismatched” items. I’m intrigued by a surprise grab bag of things. I remember going through Christmas ornaments with my sisters, and I loved the hot pink one with glitter (that they were shunning.) So Kashmiri beads, also called Bollywood beads, are perfect for me. I had never heard the name until recently. They are clay mixed with resin and decorated with seed beads, metal, mirrors, etc.
Here is how my Kashmiri bead journey started. Someone put a package of the black beads with silver, blue and red (on the far right of this picture) in my mailbox at work. I asked around to the people I thought were likely suspects, those who know I love beads and make jewelry, but no one fessed up. A mystery! So I just put them in my bead stash knowing they would come in handy some day.
Then the other day when I was in Kandu Beads‘ etsy store I saw their Kashmiri Beads Lucky Dip item. They scoop out a certain amount of beads from a mix, and that’s what you get. I loved their picture of the variety of beads and thought it would be fun to get a surprise batch. I also knew I could add my mystery beads from work!
I love that little one in the picture above with the glitter! Truth be told, I love them all. At first, I just put them on some cotton cord and let them speak for themselves.
But I found myself feeling like I should have put a heavier bead toward the front. (I had actually laid it out that way, and somehow that bead rolled to the side and didn’t get included.) The day after I made the necklace as I was still contemplating what it did or didn’t need, I got an order from Sam’s Bead Shop, which included an elephant pendant. I had no idea what I’d do with it when I ordered it, but I have a weakness for elephants. Then I looked at the Kashmiri bead necklace and realized the elephant was the perfect finishing touch!
I had so much fun with this necklace. It doesn’t contain any art beads, but I just find it so charming. I have some of the Kashmiri beads left, but I’ll probably end up buying another dip at some point to have a good variety for a bracelet.