Bone beads have been around ever since man decided to make jewelry. Bone beads were probably first worn as a trophy or symbol of a great hunting success. While we will never truly know what prompted man to make beads out of bone, bone beads are in great demand today.
Bone beads come in a wide variety of sizes, colors and shapes. While all bone beads are white — their natural color is sometimes altered with dyes, stains, charcoal and even smoke. Bone beads are primarily made from camel, cow, oxen, yak and water buffalo bones. When finished, bone beads have either a semi-matte or matte finish. Bone beads can be oiled or waxed. They are made into intricate and delicate shapes by careful cutting and carving methods.
People like bone beads because they are easy to work with. They also blend well with shells, pearls and other gemstones. The cost of bone beads is fairly low. If you buy a piece of bone bead jewelry you are primarily paying for the labor of making the jewelry — rather than the bone material. If you are building up you own supply of beads, you should think about purchasing bone beads. They are a great way to enlarge your bead supply without spending a fortune.
To protect your bone beads and bone bead jewelry you should keep them away from high heat. Do not clean bone beads with harsh or abrasive chemicals. Keep them protected from trauma and being jarred. You should not store your bone beads in a tight plastic container that is airtight. This can cause the bone to undergo a chemical change. If you find that the bone beads you have are starting to have an odor, there is not much you can do about it. The odor is due to the bone soaking up oil off a person’s skin.