Wednesday, March 9, 2011



DID YOU KNOW….that from the 1920s to the 1960s, the original New Orleans Mardi Gras parade throw beads were made of glass? 

Individually hand-strung on cotton thread, they were like colorful mini-Christmas balls, first imported from Japan (like Kazuki). 

Unfortunately, very few of these early beads survived the throws, let alone the decades.  So by the 1930s most of Mardi Gras beads were more durable molded glass imported from Czechoslovakia, and later, from India. 

These varied from glitzy imitations of fine jewelry -- faceted beads in graduated sizes and jewel colors for Carnival Queens -- to randomly-strung molded glass in a riot of shapes and colors.   

There were Egyptian Revival and Art-Deco influenced forms, and, later, simple geometric shapes and bright Moderne colors.   Others imitated natural stones and gems and the Native American, African or Greek mythological themes of the Mardi Gras "krewes" that awarded them to adoring audiences.

Old Czech molded beads have had a revival, and new beads are on the market made from older molds.   But the original Mardi Gras necklaces have their own charm, and carry the esprit of Carnival with them. 

Gorgona Studio’s Krewe de Tchèque’s collection repurposes vintage beads from broken strands collected in New Orleans into nostalgic jewelry which you can wear all year round. 
This collection is exclusive in NYC to Creators’ Co-op!
We thought you might like to share in the fun this holiday, and throw a little love back to the Crescent City.   For the month or March, we offer 10% off to you -- and 20% to the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund: . This organization aids musician families displaced by Katrina, arranges for donations of musical instruments and sound equipment to schools and students, and organizes cultural events supporting the affected communities.  These folks  still need our help -- to survive and, as well, to continue their cultural traditions.

But if you don’t need a Mardi Gras bead necklace (though we don’t know why not), please check out NOMRF’s website, and maybe throw them some love on your own (and perhaps buy one of their cool posters, CDs or t-shirts).   

Happy Mardi Gras !

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