Are you the type of person who likes your accessories a bit off the beaten path? If so, you probably avoid wearing cookie-cutter style fashion jewelry in favor of unique pieces that are produced individually by talented artisans, and chances are good that you go for edgier materials than classic stones in gold or silver settings. Fortunately, jewelry artists all from all over the country are working with a variety of materials to create artistically crafted pieces for people just like you. Following are five of the intriguing materials that are being used to make these items.
Sea glass is glass that has washed up on ocean beaches after spending years in salt water. Chemical and physical weathering processes create a frosted appearance and rounded edges that make it ideal for producing jewelry and other works of art. The majority of sea glass originates from galley items on board oceangoing vessels and many of it came from shipwrecks. Although it isn't possible to know exactly where a piece of sea glass has come from, it's romantic to imagine that it came from a ship like the Titanic or possibly from one of the quintessential glass bottles tossed into the ocean with a love note tucked inside.
Beach glass is similar to sea glass, but it's produced in inland waterways and doesn't have the frosted, weathered appearance characteristic of sea glass. Some people prefer its clear tone to that of sea glass, and jewelry pieces crafted using both types have a particularly ethereal beauty because of the contrasting tones.
Mammoth ivory comes from wooly mammoths that died many thousands of years ago in places like Alaska and Siberia. In most cases, their bodies have remained frozen under layers of ice and snow for centuries, keeping them almost perfectly preserved. These animals are now extinct, and their ivory is used to make jewelry and decorative statuary. Mammal fossils are abundant in both Alaska and Siberia, and the material isn't nearly as restricted as traditional elephant ivory. Because no living animals were killed in order to procure tusks for making jewelry and other items, mammoth ivory is often referred to as "guilt-free ivory."
Although polished agates make beautiful jewelry, those who prefer something slightly off the beaten path may want to consider purchasing fashion jewelry crafted from unpolished agates. Unpolished agates have an fun, edgy appeal that's perfect for pairing with modern fashions. However, not all unpolished agates should be used to create jewelry -- many agates are actually unattractive in their natural state. For this reason, unpolished agates of unusual beauty are frequently used as specimen stones on pendants.
Freshwater pearls offer a similar sophistication and polish as their saltwater grown counterparts, but they are significantly more affordable because they are produced in abundance in China and Japan. These pearls have more color variation than traditional pearls and are often used in fresh, innovative ways rather than strung into a classic, but grandmotherly, pearl necklace. For instance, small freshwater pearls can be clustered together to make attractive earrings or used in unexpected combinations with stones such as turquoise or coral for a unique look.
Trade beads are decorative glass beads that were frequently used as currency from the 16th century through the end of the 1800s throughout Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Many of these beads till exist today and are used to craft colorful, unique jewelry. African trade beads are vibrantly colored with intricate designs, while Native American beads tend toward solid colors, usually sky blue and white. Jewelry made with trade beads is ideal for pairing with casual, earthy fashions.
There are so many options to choose from when looking for trendy fashion jewelry. Don't forget about these unique options when you're looking for your next accessory.