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Worry Beads - Worry Knot!

It is unclear where worry beads originated from but it is likely that the monks on Mount Athos in Northern Greece first used them as religious prayer beads many centuries ago and still do so. They were used to count off the daily prayers rather like rosary beads, and were made from any locally found natural materials such as wood, shells and olive pits. They were strung together on woolen thread to make a bead string.

Another theory of their origin is that they were introduced when the Byzantine Empire fell after the capture of Constantinople in 1453, by the Ottoman's who ruled Greece until independence in 1821. The Greeks used a string of 40 prayer beads to mock their conquerors.

Whatever their origin, worry beads have been assimilated into Greek culture and no longer have any religious significance, but are merely an instrument of relaxation and way of relieving the stresses of the day. Furthermore worry beads are used by people to keep their mind off habits they wish to control, such as reducing smoking and overeating.

Armenians also use worry beads in a non religious way.

Many different materials are used in the making of worry beads, from inexpensive acrylic, bone or glass to more costly porcelain and costlier still, natural stones such as amber, agate or gold and silver.

Greek worry beads generally have an odd number of beads, one more than a multiple of four; 17, 21 or 25 for example, or prime numbers such as 17,19 or 23, one bead being tied and set off and decorated with a tassel. The beads may be round or oblong in shape. A string of leather, cord or fine metal chain would be a least two palm widths in length, allowing for the free movement of the beads.

There are no specific instructions on how worry beads are to be used, the purpose is to occupy the mind for several minutes diverting it from whatever has caused the stress, or take the mind off a habit to be broken. The purpose is to promote a relaxed and soothing state of mind.

They are usually held with the palm of the hand upwards, strung over the middle finger and hanging downwards. Starting at one end,the thumb and fore finger is then used to guide each bead over the middle finger so eventually all the beads are on one side, at which time all the beads are swung back and the process repeated.


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What Can You Do With Beads?

When you first get into this craft, you may be overwhelmed by the number of beads available as well as the number of ways to use them. You could be amazed by the amount of beads to buy, the various types, the many colors they come in and even the number of suppliers to be found both on and off the internet. It seems that beads and beading is a very popular hobby and that this craft, though very old, is still a very exciting one.

It seems that there are many ways to enjoy the craft:

    Some people simply collect beads. That's pretty straight-forward and simple. They collect and trade beads with other collectors. These people simply love the bead itself.
    Some people use beads to make jewelry and decorations. This is the largest group of crafters. These people enjoy the end result that beads give the article. There are so many ways to use beads for jewelry and for sewing onto clothing as decoration that you could never try every way.
    Then there are those people who love all of the above, but they really enjoy making their own. For this group, the challenge is in making unusual and beautiful beads to use in their other crafts. These people have various ways they employ to make special and unique beads. For them the fun is in trying new materials to see what they get.

With so many ways to enjoy them, it is no wonder why this craft is so popular. So, let's discuss the needs of each of the above groups.

The collector needs a never-ending supply of beads, made up of just about everything you can imagine. They also need a way to keep their collection organized so they can enjoy it and make it easy to trade with other collectors.

Those who use beads to make jewelry and for decorations need the tools to accomplish this. For jewelry, that includes hammers, pliers, jewelry findings, charms, beads, wire, beading thread and needles. They will also need some type of pattern or plan to follow. They may even be weavers who will need a bead loom.

The last group, the ones who like to make their own, have several options. They will, of course need all of the above to use to make jewelry or to decorate clothing. They will also need specialized equipment to make their beads.

    If they use polymer clay, they will need the clay in several different colors, a clay roller, some way to size them, a toaster oven, sandpaper, and a way to make center holes.
    If they use glass, they will need a torch and an assortment of colored glass rods. The will also need a place to allow the glass beads to cool very slowly. They need to have fire-proof mitts and tools to handle the hot glass. If they are using an acetylene torch, they will need eye protection as well.
    If they are using paper, they will need a supply of colored papers and a bead roller as well as glue and some way to make them waterproof. They will need a place to keep them while they are drying that protects the beads. They may need a specialized cutting mat and cutting tool to make the long strips of paper they will use
    There are even those who make beads out of flower petals. In this case, they will need a large supply of petals and a blender to pulverize them. They will also need access to a heat source to simmer the petals in water for a long period of time. They will use a cast-iron pan to simmer the flowers, so they need that, too.

So, welcome to the world of crafting with beads. There are so many avenues to explore and I am sure you will find the one that suits you best. This is an old craft that dates back to ancient times, so you will be in very good company.

Beading and buying beads is a wonderful craft. You can find many ways to enjoy using beads for your crafting pleasure. Some think that stringing beads is very soothing and relieves stress. Wearing jewelry that you made for yourself gives you a real sense of accomplishment. Giving jewelry that you made is really fun.



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History and Geography of Body Piercing Jewelry

As for the history of piercing, body piercing is an art that is not a new one. It has been going on for some 2000 years now, and has always been a very popular one among all types of body art.

Jewelry is a broad term that includes fashion jewelry, symbolic jewelry, and piercing jewelry. To get a fast overview of the types of jewelry, here is a little information on them. Fashion jewelry is the type that we wear for the sole purpose of looking good, like bracelets, pendants, and anklets and such. Symbolic jewelry such as the 'mangalsutra' which is a long necklace made of black beads or 'nowa' which is a bangle made from the mixture of any three metals - preferably gold, silver and copper, or mangtika' which is an ornament for the forehead, worn by Indian women throughout the country which especially symbolize their marital status. These jewelry pieces either are worn for the fun of it, or for the deeper reason which they stand for.

Geography means the locations of piercing on the body and wear body piercing jewelry. The most common piercing done is on the ears. In some countries, where wearing jewelry is almost compulsory for especially girls, infant or toddlers of the feminine gender have to get their ears pierced. This is especially done so that it pains less, for when they grow up the cartilage of the ears get thicker and thus it becomes tougher to get the ears pierced. In Muslim countries, the nose stud is the symbol of femininity and marriage, so girls are most commonly got their noses pierced within the first few years of their life.

In the Western countries, piercing the body is more of a fashion than a religious or social part of the life. The very common type of piercing - ear piercing - has more than five types in itself. The normal lobe piercing is what most of us have - boys and girls both. But other than that, various parts of the ear are pierced, like the inner cartilage at various points, the outer cartilage and also more than one piercing on the lobe.

There are at least eight types of piercing for in and around the lips. Some are on the lips, some above or below the lips, some on the chin, while one - known as the Medusa piercing - is right in the middle of the upper lip. There are other piercings like the corset piercing which is done on the back using steel rings. Nape piercing, Achilles piercing - done on the heels, witch's piercing - for those who have joined toes, nipple piercing, eye brow piercing, fore head piercing, belly button piercing, genital piercing, bicep piercing - these are some of the piercings that I have come across while studying about body piercing and piercing jewelry.Then come the types of jewelry that are usually available in the market, especially in wholesale body jewelry shops over internet. Piercing jewelry is not really exclusive, which means there some basic types which you can use for more than one piercing. A nose stud can be worn on the ears or as a lip or labret jewelry.

Similarly, the endless hoops, banana jewelry, horse shoe balls or cones, industrial barbells, or internally threaded rings - you can use them for more than one piercing. With the ear plugs, however, there is one use, and that is to adorn your ear lobes.



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