Welcome to Beads of Bali
Beads of Bali offers information about sterling silver Bali beads, Indonesian glass beads, and many other topics for the serious beader.
This site is operated by two individuals who produced sterling silver and other kinds of beads and jewelry in Indonesia for many years and sold them at this site, bead shows, and a retail outlet. Indeed, one of the owners comes from a family that has been producing gold and silver beads and jewelry for three generations.
We recently halted production in pursuit of a better balance between work and life. It is time-consuming to run business that operates 24 hour a day, 365 days a year! Our decision was made easier by volatile and skyrocketing prices of silver and gold, which has made our other businesses more promising.
In any regard, we have years of experience in the industry and would like to share some of what we know with you. In the months to come we will be adding articles on a variety of topics related to beading, Bali and Indonesia. Check back often.
Just Say No To Foreign "Bali Style Beads"
In recent years the fine silversmiths of Bali have come under attack from abroad. Companies in India, China and other countries have begun to produce and sell "Bali Style" beads. Some even market their beads as Bali-made, which we consider to be fraud. This practice can only be described as cultural theft. Many of the designs in Bali beads are instantiations of cultural symbols indigenous to Bali.
To make matters worse, many "Bali style" beads are produced to a low standard of quality, which could potentially damage the reputation and status of genuine, "made in Bali" silver work.
We encourage everyone to take precautions and buy only Bali-made Bali beads. Would you knowingly buy a Persian rug made in Vietnam or Belgium chocolates made in Venezuela? How about Chinese-made babushka dolls? Probably not.
The Balinese people deserve to have their art traditions respected as well. If it is not made in Bali, it is not a "Bali bead" and should not be purchased. We also ask that you notify any supplier of "Bali Style" beads that they need to think about their complicity in this matter.
Buying Direct From Bali
Many lovers of Bali sterling silver beads know that the lowest prices can usually be obtained by buying direct from a Bali supplier. Sometimes the savings can be considerable. Even so, many beaders are afraid to purchase from a foreign company.
There are many considerations when deciding whether to buy your Bali beads from a local importer or direct from a Bali source. In this brief article we discuss the pros and cons of buying directly from Bali.
If you are new to beading, or just want to learn new tricks, we have assembled the best How To videos on beading on the Internet. There are many videos out there in the public domain (especially YouTube), so we have waded through the bad ones, identified the great ones, and created a very organized collection of tutorials on this website. Most were produced by highly-regarded companies, including Beadalon, Soft Flex, Beadaholique, and Auntie's Beads.
We first used these online lessons when we were operating a showroom in San Francisco a few years back. Although most of our customers were very accomplished designers, we did meet many people new to beading. These videos allowed us to address their questions about techniques, tools and projects very thoroughly.
The Bead Gallery
Over the years our Bali and Java staff of silversmiths, goldsmiths and lampwork artists produced nearly 5000 bead and finding designs. We have created a Bead Gallery to feature some of these designs. Many are available from other suppliers. Those that are not could easily be made by them with the pictures we provide (we don't mind).
This part of the site is a tribute to many of the bead makers with whom we have worked; some still work with us in new business endeavors (unrelated to precious metals) on the paradise island of Bali. You will find links to the Bead Gallery in the right column of this site. It is organized into three topical sections: Sterling Silver Items, Gold Vermeil Items, and Other Treasures (e.g., glass, wood, bone, pearls, and gemstones).
We live in a polluted world, and as a result your sterling silver jewelry will inevitably tarnish. Fortunately, keeping sterling silver looking as new as the day you first bought it is easy.
We offer several brief articles on silver care that describe what tarnish is, why it results, how you can remove it from your sterling jewelry, and how you can slow the reemergence of tarnish. We have a lot of experience with tarnish and discuss three specific products that we have used and feel comfortable endorsing.
Paying a Fair Price
In the many years were were engaged with the beading community as bead merchants, we were struck by the kind and caring nature of our many customers. Most seemed to be genuinely concerned about where their beads came from, who made them, and how they were being treated.
On occasion, however, we would meet a customer who seemed oblivious to the factors that affect the price of beads, findings, and jewelry or felt that the rising cost of silver, gold, and fuel should have no effect on the prices they were asked to pay.
Let's take a moment to consider why Bali beads cost what they cost, and why those costs can rise and fall considerably over a short period of time.