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Ancient World Modern Beads
Mortira Natasha van Pelt

Search Press
6 August 2015 / ISBN 9781782213383
How-To Books/Jewelry

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


If you have ever browsed the ancient history section of a museum and marveled at the beautiful jewelry this book is for you. Divided into three sections you can add a bit of ancient world style to your wardrobe with projects inspired by Egypt, Greece and Rome.

After a brief look at what you need (this is a beadwork book) and how to get the most out of the way the pages are laid out, the projects start. These are all primarily aimed that those with some beadwork experience, although they are marked as to how difficult they are to make. Each project has a historical note about the inspiration, and is illustrated handsomely with a page-sized photograph of the finished item. Apart from skill level (three of these) there is a list of what you need, full instructions with good-sized diagrams and even the technique you will use. Some crafts are best illustrated with staged photographs, but beadwork is best (in my opinion at least) with drawn diagrams and these are really clear and easy to follow. Egypt has the inevitable broad collars, strung necklaces and cuffs, while Greece and Rome tend less to follow exact ancient styles but mostly have projects based on items associated with them. Laurel wreaths, sea imagery, vase patterns, etc. make for some beautiful pieces, but there are also projects taking their inspiration from particular ancient jewelry which is shown alongside. At the back there is a handy ring-size guide for those not possessing a mandrel and a list of where you can buy materials if you live in the US, beading sites and those of museums with ancient collections to browse. I particularly like the way this book eschews the fancy beads and findings that it is hard to obtain outside the US and instead shows what you can do with rocailles and other very widely available materials. One for the keeper shelf.

If you cannot find a good range of beadwork and other jewelry making materials locally try for a list of suppliers.

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in Sewing World, Sew Hip, Popular Crafts and other magazines. Her craft blog is Green Thoughts
Reviewed 2015