Thursday, 17 August 2017

Beautiful Beads: in Ancient Times and in my novel!

Beads have been around as long as civilization, but I bet most of us never gave that a second thought!  I only started thinking about it when I was writing the fourth book in my Paranormal Fiction/Urban Fantasy series, RHUNA.

You see, I've based RHUNA on ancient history, combining facts and theories with legends and myths such as Atlantis and advanced technology in ancient times.  The fourth book, Rhuna: New Horizons, is set in Ancient India - the Indus Valley to be precise, and in doing some general background research, I learned that the people of that ancient civilization were big on beads.

Don't they look fantastic (for several thousand years old) ?!  The Indus Valley people put a lot of time and effort into creating top quality beads which were not only used for jewellery but also for currency, like money.

The brownish ones are carnelian beads, which other ancient peoples also used, but in Ancient India, they found a way to add designs to them which look like being etched, but was actually done with a bit of chemistry know-how using soda.  Furthermore, it looks like the markings on these beads represented things and conveyed information - not just decoration!

The other type of beads popular in Ancient India were glass beads (like marbles) and this is what I used in my book.

Aren't they exquisite?!  

In Rhuna: New Horizons, Rhuna visits a shop full of all kinds of marbles, and the owner is called "The Marble Master".  He's a pudgy guy with big glasses who makes "Identifiers" which everyone in that city has to wear.  This bit I made up, but the idea of conveying information with beads really was used in ancient times.

The "Identifiers" in RHUNA are sort of like bead jewellery for the hand/wrist with colour codes to identify the wearer's residence, family group and occupation.  It would look something like this:

These days, beads are as popular as ever; from cheap plastic ones to fancy and expensive ones, in all kinds of colours, sizes and arrangements.  They can be strung up to make a necklace, or used in embroidery for just about everything.  It's a great hobby for many people, and others make and sell lovely items with them. 

If you're getting interested in beads, why not look at my Pinterest board called "Beadwork Bonanza".  I'm adding new pictures to it every day.