One of the fondest memories from our childhood was creating clay beads in school by mashing up blobs of clay in all colors of the rainbow, then gently rolling it into a tiny ball and poking a hole through it with a toothpick, before patiently waiting for it to ‘cook’ in an oven. The resulting bracelet, although not the most refined of designs, was worn proudly for weeks. So, you can imagine our delight when we recently received our very own box of mixed beads from Maruti Beads, an India-based company established in 2002 to provide high quality handcrafted maruti, kashmiri and lac beads. What a perfect opportunity to put our DIY skills to the test, and let the creativity flow.
Opening the box, we were amazed with all the beautiful colors and shimmering rhinestones. Inspecting each piece, you could tell that skillful artisans had carefully crafted every bead, and that no two beads were exactly the same. The different beads are made from several components:
Lac Beads: a mixture of Lac (natural resin) and marble powder, and decorated with silver plating, seed beads and rhinestones, detailed with metal elements, mirror chips and various embellishments.
Kashmiri Beads: composed of a mix of marble powder and manufactured resin, also known as “Bollywood” beads as they are hand-decorated and use a variety of materials for embellishment such as mirror chips, seed beads, silver plating and rhinestones.
Maruti Beads: a blend of Kashmiri beads with silver-plated side caps; one-of-a-kind creations using techniques passed down through generations.
The beads themselves, although crafted through traditional Indian processes, are decorated in both traditional and ethnic contemporary styles. We wore a bracelet of our own creation to a dinner with friends, and by the end of the night we received requests from everyone for their own piece of jewelry!
DIY jewelry making not up your alley? Not to worry! In addition to offering wholesale beads, Maruti Beads also has a range of ready-to-wear jewelry, such as their newly released Shamballa Bracelets.
Fun fact: Lac, which is so prominently featured in these beads, is actually a substance secreted by the Kerria lacca - a tiny bug that can only be seen through a magnifying glass. It lives in the twigs of host trees and feeds on the sap - the foundation of the hard Lac resin (aka insect poop!). Talk about being all-natural!
Images via: www.marutibeads.com