I just got these beautiful Turkish cobalt blue glass beads from a collector who had them for at least 30 years. They are handmade and somewhat crudely cut and they have wonderful character! This color, based on Lapis Lazuli is used widely across the Middle East as protection against the Evil Eye and as good luck.
Lapis Lazuli has been a prized gemstone throughout history and particularly important to the Middle East as it was first mined in Afghanistan. The stone itself is important, but the beautiful cobalt blue color is prized as well. Cobalt blue glass is used throughout the Middle East, but especially in Turkey where the evil eye (Nazar Boncuğu) amulets have been made for over 3000 years. The cobalt blue glass beads in these earrings are from Turkey as well, hence the title Istanbul.
I have also used exotic Persian blue "donkey beads" that I got from this same collector. They are made of faience, an ancient non clay ceramic of quartz and sand used 5500 years ago in Egypt. These beads are still being made in the city of Qom, in Iran, where they are used as good luck beads against the Evil Eye. They are used by people, but also in vehicles, homes and on animals, which is why they are called donkey beads. They are crudely handmade and inexact which adds to their wonderful charm.
I love crossing cultures in my designs and I have used a gorgeous Ethiopian coptic cross in the necklace, a cute little Ethiopian cross for the bracelet and some unique cross links in the earrings. These pieces are fabulous and are priced lower than they may normally be as I was able to get these valuable vintage beads at particularly low prices. These would be a welcome change to the typical Christmas jewelry ~ maybe time to shake it up this year!