Artbeads.com came to life in my garage-office back in 1999 when the web was young. Running this business has been a joy, and my passion for beads is boundless. Creating a Top 10 List from our line of more than 28,000 items was a daunting and seemingly arduous task, but to the contrary I found great joy reminiscing and reflecting as I carefully chose items that hold meaning to me personally. Beads complete me – what else can I say!
| ||Alaska State Charm - CHARM499
Although I was born in Manhattan, New York, I spent most of my childhood in Anchorage, Alaska, where I spent the summers fishing and crabbing and the very long winters sledding and skiing. Alaska is vast, diverse, and intoxicating. But it can sometimes get a bit chilly.
| || Sterling Silver Paw Print Charm - CHARM147|
Brindle was our first dog, and as an energetic puppy she helped prepare us for the rigors and joy of being a parent. During the summer, she passed away at age 14 and will be dearly missed, especially by our other two dogs, Bodhi and Princess Fiona.
| ||Large Rectangular Pendant with Fish Imprint - HTS012|
While spending time with Cynthia’s family in New Caledonia this past summer, and at the northern tip of the country with the sun on my back and the dropping tide revealing sprawling legs of nearby mangroves, I finally realized my dream of bringing to hand one of the legendary New Caledonia bonefish. This Hill Tribe silver pendant is a reminder of that glorious day.
| ||Indian Silver 4mm Daisy Spacer - INDSY40A|
This is not a complex spacer bead, nor is it particularly elegant on its own. Team a few of them up with Swarovski crystals and you get a rich look that will turn heads. This bead is one of the first sterling silver items that Artbeads ever carried, and I have hand-counted tens of thousands of these little guys.
| ||Bali Silver Round Bead with Intricate Granulation - BBZ0029|
I have a deep love of sterling silver Bali beads because they are individual works of art. It took time and investment to create a line that was consistent in quality, size and design. This particular bead has been in our line for so long that the image is still the original that I took in my garage with equipment that would now be considered primitive.
| ||Red Flower Design Glass Pendant - JC-RDFLWR|
I love glass! The reason I entered the bead business in the first place was because back in 1999 I was introduced to lampwork beadmaking. Stressed out by the pace of running my previous finance-related business, sitting behind a torch working hot glass was very meditative and helped me decompress.
| ||Rectangle Black Onyx Picasso - The Dream - AB-PCO8|
As an accomplished artist and, prior to retirement, a university professor of illustration and graphic design, my mom has always been fascinated by the life and work of Pablo Picasso. Whenever I see this pendant or anything that even vaguely resembles a Picasso, I am reminded of the many Picasso books that have always occupied a meaningful portion of her very large art book collection.
| || Venetian Blown Glass Round Bead - Multi-Color Stripes - MRG-077 |
In my lampwork beadmaking days, I tried my hand at blowing a few beads. OMG, not so easy! These Venetian blown glass beads are something to behold.
| || Swarovski 5727 18mm Fish Bead Crystal Silver Shade - 5727-CSS18|
What can I say? I like fish! In my home office, I have glass fish, silver fish, crystal fish, brass fish, books on fish, fish pictures, fish beads, and too often I daydream about fishing on the clear and cool waters of the Olympic Peninsula. I once tied a fishing fly using sterling silver, and posted about it on our blog (http://blog.artbeads.com/2009/01/sterling-john/#more-302). Trout apparently aren’t as attracted to the beauty of sterling as we humans are judging from my catch record with this fly. Next, I may flatback my fishing waders to see if this will bring the fish in closer.
| || Taper Cutters Full-Relief with Ergonomic Handle - Flush- TOOL-608|
Somehow, these Tronex ergonomic cutters migrated from Cynthia’s craft room into my toolbox and became my absolute favorite tool. I don’t make jewelry, but I’ve always got something going on that requires a precise cut.