Want to add natural beads to your DIY jewelry? They come in every shape, color and size. Here are some simple and fun ideas you can use as inspiration.
If you’ve been wanting to infuse more color, texture and unique elements into your jewelry, look no further than Mother Nature.
Humans have been making jewelry with things found in nature for centuries. These materials aren’t just pretty, they can also add symbolism and a fun history to your creations.
If you plan to use some natural elements, their holes can be rough so use a bead reamer to smooth them out.
Below is a list of natural materials that you can include in your jewelry.
11 Natural Beads and Other Jewelry-making Materials
Historically, bone has been a component of jewelry as is evident any time you see pieces made thousands of years ago.
Bone beads can be quite ornate with intricate carvings or painted patterns on their surfaces. There are also ones that are quite simplistic in shape and design.
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I’ve always wondered where the bone used to make beads comes from. As it turns out, cow bones are quite popular, along with other animals like sheep and camel.
After animals have been killed for food, their bones are cleaned and processed into beads.
One of the most popular natural elements to include in beaded jewelry is stone. This can be anything from natural lava beads to semi-precious stones.
Natural gemstone beads are gathered from every corner of the world, come in every color of the rainbow and are found in a huge variety of shapes and textures.
Some are thought to have special powers and it’s these interesting attributes that have encouraged humans to wear stones for years. For example, in ancient times, Citrine was carried as protection against snake venom and evil thoughts. Today, it’s associated with prosperity.
Besides mythological uses, there are practical uses for natural stone beads. Some people add a few drops of essential oil to porous stones such as lava which adds an aromatherapeutic quality to your jewelry.
Whether you use real leather or faux, there’s no denying that there’s a long list of ways you can incorporate this natural material into jewelry. Choose from leather tassels, bands, cord and even leather-covered beads.
Another common material is wood. You can find natural wood beads in many shapes and sizes. There are even some colored wooden beads.
Love the bohemian look? Add some feathers to your jewelry.
These lightweight dangles are commonly used in earrings but are also added to necklaces.
When most people think of nature, they envision plants. So, it’s only fair that I add plants to this article.
Resin-encased plants or even natural beads and charms shaped like them are some of the ways that you can include plants in beaded jewelry.
One type of natural beads that pretty much everyone can get their hands on is seeds. These things are everywhere and many types are used to make jewelry.
Of course, you’ll need to drill holes in them if you plan to slide them onto cord or wire for jewelry-making. But, incorporating local seeds into your jewelry can be a fantastic way to differentiate your work from others’ and might be worth the effort. This can be an amazing sales point if you own a jewelry business.
Of course, you can also purchase seeds already drilled from stores like Fire Mountain Gems.
Some seeds are poisonous so please make sure you do your homework before grabbing any off trees yourself.
Natural fibers e.g. hemp, cotton and bamboo jewelry-making cords come in various thicknesses and colors. They add a more rustic feel to jewelry.
Fibers come in pre-cut lengths on cards or in bulk on a spool. How much you buy depends on the project you’re working on. These work well in macrame, but also crotchet, knotting and other jewelry-making techniques.
Add a beachy feel to your jewelry by using shells.
If you live near a beach like I do, you can have the pleasure of collecting your own. But, if you’re land-locked, you can still find these at most bead shops.
Did you know you could make beads out of sand?
Neither did I until I was doing research for this article, but apparently you can.
Corral beads come in lots of shapes and sizes. They can also be natural or dyed a color.
But, many people don’t realize that coral reefs are produced by living creatures. These reefs protect coastlines and provide shelter for marine life.
Due to demand for home decor, souvenirs and jewelry, corals are dying at an alarming rate. They grow very slowly and take years to reach maturity.
Commercial harvesting, among other things like pollution, is responsible for the destruction of corral beds. This is one type of natural element I would advise you to avoid adding to your jewelry.
Okay, I’m stepping off my soapbox.
Natural beads and other jewelry-making materials add a nice touch to your crafts. Combine them with thread, wire or even chain for a unique look.
Check this out: How to Select Colors For Your Beaded Jewelry Projects.