The most famous beads in American history are, of course, the ones that helped buy Manhattan island in 1626. Though the story is almost certainly apocryphal, beads remain the punch line to the greatest one-sided deal ever, and the so-called trinkets get short shrift, beyond their value as currency and trade goods.
Many religions use beads as implements of prayer — they're like the TweetDeck of divine communication. Beads are frequent elements of rituals and ceremonies and powerful talismans against malevolent forces — though, for the record, the beaded evil eye I was so kindly given at a market in Turkey did not protect me from a debilitating weeklong stint with food poisoning.
Beads have also been a staple of arts and crafts dating back millennia, and the prevalent use of beads today is in the arena of style, particularly for jewelry and other accessories. So think of the Intergalactic Bead & Jewelry Show, this weekend at the Agricenter, as a fashion show for those who actually make what everyone else wears.
The trade show features numerous exhibitors and is open to the public for retail and wholesale purchases. Attendees will find an array of items to choose from. Glass and plastics are, naturally, common materials for beads, but those only scratch the surface. Precious and semi-precious metals and gemstones, clay, stones, seeds, wood, and crystals are the basis of many beads on sale this Saturday and Sunday. Handcrafted wares from far-flung locales such as Kenya, Afghanistan, Brazil, Peru, Guatemala, Italy, Thailand, Myanmar, and the Czech Republic will be peddled.
(And, btw, we'll gladly sell you Nashville for $24 worth of beads.)
Intergalactic Bead & Jewelry Show, Agricenter International, Saturday, January 29th-Sunday, January 30th, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
$5 for both days or $4 on Sunday only.