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  • Karolina Šmejkalová

Some beads grow on trees

Since ancient times, people have worn some jewelry, the first were simple amulets for protection, made of wood, bone or rough stones. As craftsmanship developed, jewelry became more and more complicated and the material from which it was made increased. In today's post, we will look at my favorite beads that nature has given us.

Styrax is a tree that has been known since ancient times, its resin is used in perfumery. This tree is also very important for beekeepers, at the time of flowering it is literally littered with bees.

Styrax tree has also hard wood and is suitable for fine handicrafts, and styrax japonicus is used to build kokyú, the Japanese bowed instrument.

But I am all about jewelry so I am interested in its fruits. They are brown solid inedible nuts that can be drilled.

Styrax seeds are almost a centimeter in diameter, they are light and are very pleasant to the touch. I like to use them on bracelets as well as necklaces, they look nice with stones and metal or glass beads, I also combine them with other seeds and driftwood. My favorite is a necklace with a glass goddess. I like the connection between Mother Nature and human craftsmanship.

Other seeds that I love to use are from plant called Job's tears or Virgin Mary's tears scientific name Coix lacryma-jobi, also known as adlay.

Job's tears are available in dried form and cooked as a grain. In Korea and China they distille

liquors from it and in Thailand they drink it as a tea.

In Crete you can find rosaries made from these seeds in monasteries.

I found this plant in Katina`s garden in Maza village two years ago, the lovely lady happily shared some seeds with me and since then I plant my own.

The seeds come in shades and colors according ripeness of the seed.

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