Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Review: Beads of the World

Today the JET Team are delighted to bring to you a book review, written especially for us by Mollie of RoughMagicCreations.
Hello there! I'm Mollie, and the book I'm reviewing in this article is BEADS OF THE WORLD: A Collector's Guide with Revised Price Reference, 2nd edition by Peter Francis, Jr.*; Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1999


While this colorful paperback book is now 16 years old, the information it contains makes it a good basic reference for anyone interested in the history, uses, making and selling of beads.

As indicated in the subtitle, BEADS OF THE WORLD is intended for collectors, serving as an introductory overview, but jewelry makers of all skill levels from beginning beaders to advanced artisans are likely to find inspiration and ideas for designs in its 126 glossy and lavishly illustrated pages.



The book comprises three sections, the first of which presents beads as "Miniature Works of Art", a subject near to the heart of every bead enthusiast! It explores "The Universal Appeal of Beads", "The Basics of Collecting Beads", and "The Uses of Beads".

Although it goes without saying that throughout known history beads have served as personal adornment and symbols of social status, the discussions of beads and magic - and beads used for messages and mnemonic devices in various societies and religions - are particularly fascinating.



The second section examines "Bead Materials" with a chapter devoted to each of the following:
  • Organic Beads - from amber and flower petals to, however unlikely, plastic
  • Stone Beads - including a discussion (all too brief, from the jewelry designer's point of view) on identifying various stones
  • Glass Beads - the various methods of making glass beads: winding, drawing, molding, blowing

The third section is something of a geographic and cultural survey, touching on the "Origins and Uses" of beads in Europe, the Middle East and India, the Far East, Southeast Asia, Africa and North and South America.


For all its brilliant color and valuable information, BEADS OF THE WORLD can be a bit daunting, especially at first glance. The print is small, diminishing the well written and knowledgeable presentation of the material.

The photographs - while displaying a wide variety of interesting and often exotic beads - tend toward monotony. All are shot straight on from above, with the subjects meticulously laid out on often distracting backgrounds. Most pages feature three or four photos, some of them in incompatible color schemes.



If it were a hardcover edition with dust jacket, this book, measuring 11" x 8.5", would certainly be considered "coffee table" quality, interesting for either expert collector or novice. And one of the greatest points in its favor is the author's tremendous enthusiasm for beads, a passion which shines through every word, every page. Ending with a list of Further Resources, Notes, References and Index, BEADS OF THE WORLD will be a welcome addition to any jewelry designer's bookshelf.

*Note: Peter Francis, Jr. (1945-2002) was Director for the Center for Bead Research from 1979 until his death while on a research trip to Ghana.

Mollie

RoughMagicCreations
Mollie of RoughMagicCreations

19 comments :

Beadsme said...

Interesting but agree with the pics shown. Not too pleasing to the eye.

VenusVelvet said...

Thank you for the great review Mollie!

Keystring said...

Interesting book! It would be helpful to any beader!

Urban Pearl Studio said...

Let's write a bead book!!

Jean Sandell said...

Interesting!!!

Jennifer said...

Interesting. They seem more like trinkets than beads. I hadn't thought of beads in quite that way.

SatinDollCo said...

Great review. The book looks interesting.

Michele said...

Interesting & helpful!!!

Tracy said...

Awesome review!

Brooke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gemstones on My Mind said...

Very interesting Mollie! I'll have to dig around Amazon for a copy, sometimes they have the unexpected. Another interesting older book on beads is "The Book of Beads" by Janet Coles and Robert Budwig. These books are fascinating! Thanks Mollie!

Nancy Russell said...

Thanks for the review, Mollie. Interesting materials and even more interesting beads.

SendingLoveGallery said...

This sounds like a book I should read - I've wondered if some of the vintage beads in my "collection" should be evaluated before I sell them as destash. Thanks, Mollie!

Erika Price said...

This is fascinating - thanks Mollie, I must get myself a copy!

Mollie Ann said...

Thank you, Everybody, for your kind comments!

Yes, I think Amazon has it.

And yes, let's put our heads together and write a book: "The JET Guide to Beads"!

Did someone say hotcakes? ;)

Ida said...

Great review, Mollie!

jemsbyjb said...

Thanks Mollie for the review. I will have to check Amazon to see if I can get a copy. I am all in for the Jetteam book. I bet it would be a best seller.

Brooke said...

Thanks Mollie, reminds me of my visit to a bead shop in Monterey that had all manner of vintage beads, so interesting. I think their displays would have made lovely photos, they had them set up like a museum.

Dee Dubbah Yew said...

Interesting! I'm always fascinated by the history of beads and adornments.