Here is a sneak peek at my loot from the Brantford Gem and Mineral Show on Saturday held at the Paris (Ontario) Fairgrounds. Unfortunately, this was all the lapis I could score. I've broken the strings up and I have half and quarter strings available for sale. I am still photographing them, but I'll post a few below. Email me first to buy (I take PayPal); it'll be first come first served as there are so few beads. Eventually everything will link directly to Etsy.
I have a request in for 4mm, 6mm, 8mm and 10mm matte rounds. This lapis is undyed with no added treatment(s), shows a range of colours and lots of pyrite and some to no calcite. It comes direct from Afghanistan (in the peaceful north, where the mines are). It's all hand cut, and so the bead sizes vary quite a bit, and the strings are sold as is. What I find really nice about these particular beads is that they have mostly 2mm holes. You may have to take a bead reamer to the odd bead to smooth out the burr in the centre, but the big holes are a bonus.
I'm still learning about the semi-precious mining industry in Afghanistan, in particular the lapis, and there are fascinating YouTube videos where you can see how it's still done by hand. The mines are virtually inaccessible except on foot and there's no way to get heavy equipment in, nor is there hydro or water.
From the centre out:
puff hearts, 2 lapis, 1 rhodochrosite(?), 1 smoky quartz
squarish faceted matte lapis
small flat-back skulls, tiger eye, amethyst, lapis and pink quartz
graduated polished lapis saucer beads
yellowy-orange resin beads with possibly silver-plated beads from Afghanistan
tiny squarish matte lapis tabular beads, slightly graduated, with faceted edges
Tibetan-style matte etched carnelian beads
assorted crystals, amethyst, citrine, clear quartz, definitely heat-treated, but nice shapes and sizes
drilled fossil pendants
polished 9 to 11mm lapis rounds
fancy coin silver beads (top)
tiny matte Afghanistan jade arrowhead beads
Matte lapis squarish tabular beads, faceted edges, 1-1.5mm holes, $16
Matte lapis faceted beads, 2mm holes, $16
What you'll notice on these lapis beads is that the holes are drilled from each end so they're evenly sized, not large on one end and tiny on the other. Very occasionally you'll find a bit of a burr in the centre of the bead but a careful pass through with a bead reamer will take care of that. The holes are clean at the entry and except where noted are slightly larger than 2mm. A 2mm leather cord will go through them easily.
The colour is a bit overbright here -- I'm still working on capturing the colour -- but this shows how the colour goes all the way through the lapis beads.
These are the few handmade coin silver beads I could get this time. 10-11mm diameter & length. Sold individually, $9 each (except for that little squirt, $7).
Here are a few things I made at the market on Saturday. I was sitting there trying to come up with a new bead combination and it suddenly dawned on me (I hadn't had even one coffee yet -- an emerging theme -- it was literally dawn at that point) that I should be able to enlarge the tiny holes in the copper skulls. I was surprised at how easily the little reamer and hand drill worked, even though these are solid metal beads. I first used the diamond reamer to enlarge the hole at each end and then I drilled out the hole with the hand drill so I could use 1.5mm Greek leather cord.
And a couple more chokers, variations on a theme...
These Fair Trade African copper wire spirals are so useful and look great with all kinds of beads.
As always, if you see anything here or elsewhere on my blog that you like or would like information on, email me and I will make that a priority to photograph and price.
Thanks for looking!