Incorporating a raw and organic flare to your beading creations is easy when you include horn beads.
Deemed as one of the oldest materials humans have utilized, horn beads were incorporated into the daily lives of ancient tribes. They believed in the practice of not wasting resources. Animal horns were used in every way possible –decors, weapons, and even jewelry.
Nowadays, the demand for horn beads are high. But thanks to ethical sourcing, horn beads are available and widely distributed in a range of shapes, cuts, colors, and sizes.
How Horn Beads are Produced:
- Male horns are used as they are sturdier, smoother, and more solid.
- The horns are cut according to the desired shape. One to two pieces of 25mm round bead will be used per horn as only 1/3 of the horn is solid while the rest are hollow and used for smaller, flatter pieces.
- The cubes are drilled and strung with a wire that’s thick enough to tighten the bead.
- Each bead will be shaped through the use of the bench grinder.
- The pieces are then poured into the beading machine lined with sandpaper. For a smoother and shinier outcome, a finer sandpaper is used. Then the beads are re-strung into 16” strands.
- Since black is the predominant color, the beads will be soaked with hydrogen peroxide for a certain period of time to achieve a golden tone. Soaking time has to be monitored so the horn won’t crack. The pieces can vary from light gold to dark brown depending on the size and shape and how long they were soaked.
- The beads can be dyed in different tones such as red, orange, purple, and green. Because horn is naturally oily, the beads are applied with clear lacquer to seal the dye in. As for burnt horns, a blow torch is used to burn the pieces and will be poured back to the beading machine to buffer and smoothen.
Why Horn is a Great Choice for Jewelry:
- Horn is apparently a by-product and as such, an eco-friendly material. There’s no mercury or plastic or any kind of harmful materials used in the production.
- Handmade — Horn beads are 100% handmade. It takes a lot of energy and time to design, carve, and polish every piece to perfection. The process clearly shows the craftsman’s skill, artistry, and passion.
- Beauty — It may not glitter like gold or shine bright like a diamond, but the fact that a carabao horn can be transformed into something exquisite is like no other.
You can never go wrong when incorporating horn beads to your beading creations. They have a rich history, are ethically sourced, and good for the environment. They are also the perfect pieces to elevate your jewelry designs.