How would you like to win these beautiful hand-made beads from India? You will find details on how to enter the giveaway at the end of the post.
I received an email a few months ago from Maruti Beads, a bead company located in India asking if I would consider writing about their beads on my blog and hosting a giveaway. I am new to this sort of thing having never engaged in any kind of blog promotion. But I felt that as long as I didn’t take anything of value that could call my objectivity into question, it could be fun and a learning experience. Beads are a passion of mine after all. So I agreed.
A few weeks later, a brown paper-wrapped parcel arrived in the mail filled with packets of very attractive beads. I ripped one open and examined the beads inside. They were glossy and light weight. I didn’t know what they were made from; it wasn’t wood or ceramic. The label said “Lac.” I’d never heard of Lac beads so I decided to find out more about them. I got obsessed with learning about Lac jewelry for a few days. When I am learning about something, I tend to get obsessed, something my husband and friends know very well.
A Little Background . . .
No one knows how long people have been making things of Lac but archaeological excavations have uncovered Lac coated materials, possibly dating to 1600 BC. Francesco Balducci Pegolotti was a Florentine merchant who lived in the 1300s and traveled the Silk Road in search of goods for the European market. Along with the exotic indigo dyes, spices, Brazil wood and amber, Pegolotti mentions that Lac was a valued commodity-so valued that it was made into beads and sometimes covered in gold.
I found out more about Lac from Traditional Jewelry of India. by Oppi Untracht. Lac is a natural resin secreted from Kerria lacca -a species of tiny insect indigenous to the forests of northern India. The resin accumulates on the twigs of trees where the insects live in colonies. The twigs are harvested and the resin is refined into Lac. In ancient times Lac turned into lacquer, shellac, and jewelry. Most varnish is man-made and mass market jewelry is made from plastic and refined metal. But Lac jewelry is still made in India. Jewelry has a tremendous cultural significance in India. One article I read said that if a woman got married without jewelry “it would be a sacrilege.” Read “The History of Indian Jewelry” here. In India, married women customarily wear bangles and while gold is the material of choice, not everyone can afford it. So many of the bangles were made of Lac which gave rise to the Lac jewelry industry.
Maruti Beads is putting a modern twist on the traditional Lac jewelry designs with their beautiful and unusual beads. Maruti employs artisans and craftspeople who make every bead by hand; each one is a little different so they are all truly one of a kind. When you make a purchase from them, you really are buying from the artist!
Lac beads are eco-friendly because they are made from natural resin. I have read that they might also be a good choice for people who are sensitive to metal and plastic jewelry, but you will have to try for yourself. While Lac beads are not fragile, they should be treated with care because they are made from natural resin and crushed marble powder. Maruti Beads does business internationally with everyone from hobbyists to bead stores. You can find their ordering policies here.
Besides Lac Beads, Maruti Beads makes Kashmiri Beads, Shamballa Bracelets and a new style bead they call the Maruti Bead. You can reach them on any of the following social media links or at their website.
And now for the giveaway information.
One lucky winner will receive all the beads you see in this post plus a few more, approximately 25 beads in all.
To enter, leave a comment below telling me which Lac bead you like best by June 12, 2013.
I will choose the winner at random and send the beads off to their new home.
And now for the good news! If you don’t win this week, I will be running TWO more giveaways thanks to Maruti Beads. Next week’s post will showcase their Kashmiri beads and the post of June 20 will be on their original creations: Maruti beads. There will be giveaways each week.
Congratulations to Karin Martinez of Hippy Freak Beads You are the lucky winner of giveaway number one!
Leave me a comment with your address (it won’t be published) and I will send your beads to you.
I think I like the twisted gold beads the most
Oh this is so hard as they are all beautiful! Think I like the black the gold the best.
How can I choose just one? They are all so different! I think it’s a toss up between the silver one in the first photo and the pink and blue/purple one that is standing on it’s side in the last photo!
They are all so beautiful. My favorite is the one shown solo. The gorgeous gold tinged almost square bead. Thank you for the lesson on Lac as well as the giveaway offer.
Loved your explanation of the beads, hard to pick a favorite bead as they all look so neat but think I’m leaning toward the hot pink/purple-blue in the last photo.
What interesting beads! I like the silvery round one the best!
I LOVE to learn about new things, especially beads! Never heard of LAC, but they sound really interesting, being lightweight and eco friendly….and the colors are amazing! My favorites are the golden ones with multicolored stripes, the ones that have seeds, flowers and rings embedded in them, and the pink square embedded with mirror chips and seeds, because it reminds me of a lace up corset.
And you are the winner! Please send me your snailmail addy (it won’t be published) and congratulations.
Just got your email….addy sent. Yay! Thanks a million!
ps My name isn’t Marlene Brady….which is why I never even looked down the page….I read Congratulations Marlene Brady and thought “oh well, maybe next time” ha ha I don’t know why I am showing up as Marlene Brady!
Sorry Karen, I am new at this. The beads will be on their way to you this week.
Just wanted to clear up the mix-up with my name. Unbeknownst to me, Karen of HippieFreak used one of my photos for the banner on her blog. My name “Marlene Brady” is on the photo as well as embedded in the photo. So, every time she leaves a comment somewhere, it comes up as my name. I am hoping Karen will replace my photo with one of her wonderful work. Thanks, Marlene
Aha! Mystery solved.
First and foremost thanks for the give-a-way, I like the unusual black with gold beads most.
These beads are beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like them. Thanks for the “lesson”, too. My favorite is the black and gold rectangle. I love the shimmer!
What a fascinating bead story. All the beads you have photographed are lovely. My favourite is the first one – the squarish one with gold over the rich black. It looks like a treasure chest.
My favourite lac bead is the one that is almost square – I love its black and gold colours as well as its shape. Thank you for this giveaway and a very good explanation about what lac beads are.
I love the black and gold cube shaped beads! The would make beautiful earrings!