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Copal Necklace


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Copal Necklace   This necklace includes:
*Copal amber
*Trade beads
*Vaseline beads
*Old carnelians
*Old agates
*Cameroon brass
  Item #30                       Artist's Collection
Please click on the image for a detailed photo.
This piece took me 20 years to make. I bought the center bead from a lady who had an allergy attack when I said the word "feathers," not entirely clear that I liked it, then had to wait for a very long time before I could figure out what to do with it. It seems so simple, but finding a happy collection like this can sometimes be the hardest thing to do. Amazingly, I still have it. I grabbed one drawer from my dresser on the way out of my burning home, swept the stuff on top of the dresser into it including a photo of my mom, and ran out. This necklace was in the drawer.

Copal has been imitated probably more than any other bead material, so I'm pretty suspicious the center bead is not copal. I've been assured by experts that it is and that it is not! The other two copal beads do seem to be real, at least by my tooth test. The carnelians at the back are said to be 900 years old. The white Indian agates, maybe 400 years. By comparison, the trade beads at somewhere between 100-200 years old are mere babies.

I love the old brass beads, but they are difficult to use because they bite through any thread or cable you can think of. HA! I fixed THEM! Whenever I use them, I file the holes and epoxy seed beads into them (you can see this in the detailed photo). In this case it adds just a hint of pretty color, and protects the thread. I've never had a problem with breakage when I've handled these beads this way.

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All designs © Mary Hicklin 2001-2004