Dystonia & Beading A few years ago Happy Mango Beads got involved in 7,000 Bracelets for Hope. The goal was to raise awareness and funds for over 7,000 rare diseases. All of which lacked awareness and the necessary funding for research, translating to no cures for most of these obscure diseases. The bracelet project was...

Read more

Milagro Charms Now that we know more about Native American fetishes, let's take a look at these Latin American religious charms! Historically, Milagros accompanied the Spanish to Latin America. Milagros, translating to "miracles", are a Latin American religious folk tradition that are offered as a tool for healing....

Read more

What is a Fetish? First a '50 Shades of Gray' reference and now we're bringing up fetishes?? You might think we're getting a little wild this week here at Happy Mango Beads, but don't be fooled. We're always a little crazy! A fetish is a carving that is believed to have power. Fetishes have been used by all southwestern...

Read more

Chile Fire Relief UPDATE! I am sure that the devastating hill fire that struck Valparaiso, Chile in April is still very fresh on many minds around the globe, especially those living in the burned region. On June 25th, Happy Mango Beads sent $500 to a trusted friend in Valparaiso, and here is Samuel's most recent report: "The...

Read more

Crayola ain't got nothin' on us Contrary to popular belief, coming up with the color name of beads is hard work. It is especially hard when you're working on a whole bunch of similar beads at one time! How does one even decide what is butterscotch, creme brulee, or tapioca? (It just makes me want a snack.) You can now search all of...

Read more

Dystonia & Beading

Bead SoulA few years ago Happy Mango Beads got involved in 7,000 Bracelets for Hope. The goal was to raise awareness and funds for over 7,000 rare diseases. All of which lacked awareness and the necessary funding for research, translating to no cures for most of these obscure diseases. The bracelet project was fun. It was the first time I tried my hand beading. I still had no true understanding of what it meant to have such a rare disease … that is … until I got sick a year later and was later diagnosed with Dystonia. It wasn’t until I went back and looked at the 7,000 Bracelets for Hope website that I discovered my own diagnosis fell under their list of rare diseases. This is now the second time we are raising funds to help rare diseases, this time more directly – for Dystonia.

I am proud that the business I work for takes an interest in a cause so personal to me. When I first got sick, I became isolated as my life came to a halt. Dystonia is the name of a movement of the muscle. It is characterized by painful, involuntary muscle spasms, twisting and shaking. It was several months before I found a combination of medications and Botox injections to better manage my symptoms but, no cures are available. I began to feel sorry for myself. Then I remembered a jewelry artist by the name of Lisa Hamilton who also lives with Dystonia. You can check out her Etsy store here:

Inspired by Lisa’s work and strong character, I reached out for my beading supplies and began making jewelry of my own. My Dystonia affects my hands so I couldn’t do much intricate work with seed beads but I found I could easily use larger beads and basic tools. Beading gave me purpose as my treatment being was dialed in, and it gave me something to do during some of my darkest days. I have learned to live life under the new terms my body sets for me.

So many of us with Dystonia would love more awareness, funding for research and ultimately a cure for this debilitating disease. You can help by purchasing anything from our blue page and 10% of your purchase during the month of September will be donated to the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation.

Learn more at:

~ Samantha

Dystonia Awareness

Category : Jewelry Inspiration, Meanderings

Post a comment

Nagaland – It’s People and Jewelry


The Naga are hill people who live in villages in Northeast India. Nagaland sits at the tri-junction of China, India and Burma. Nagaland’s large population is made up entirely of tribal people (approximately 19 different ethnic groups). Each tribe possesses traits and sentiments unique to their community. This ranges from a strong political conscience to an unmistakable connection with nature. Broadly it has been said that the Naga people have a high standard of integrity and honesty. They are hardworking, simple people who seem to value, above all, family and tradition. The Naga people differ sharply from the more widely known Hindu culture in India. Nagaland has been in political turmoil for more than a century. Today Naga insurgents battle for independence and remote areas are under rebel control.

The Naga have strong warrior roots and perhaps what is most riveting about the Naga culture is their history of headhunting. It was (is) considered an honor to return home from war with the head of a rival warrior. Men were generally considered not fit to marry if they had not yet taken a head. In most areas headhunting is now a page for the history books. Because it is thought to still be practiced in some areas many outsiders, in particular people from neighboring countries, are hesitant to visit Nagaland. So with this in mind, travel is not without risk, yet it’s said that the Naga people are friendly and visitors are typically greeted with warmth and hospitality.

The Naga people are talented craftsmen and through beading, basket weaving and pottery making they have created a niche for themselves in the international market. The tribal wears, unique to each tribe, are complex and colorful. The designs and costume worn identifies tribal belonging as well social standing within that tribe; and in earlier times distinguished the upper from the lower classes.

Elaborate Naga bead work is comprised of glass, shell, stone, brass, tusk, bone, seeds and fibers. The use of glass beads, conch shell and brass are staples in many ornaments worn by most tribes, but the Konyak tribe perfected their use. They are well known for their colorful beadwork and use of Indo-Pacific glass beads and lavish use of conch shell. Brass figurines and other ornaments (mostly depicting humans) are important to the people. The “head” pendant, worn only by men who have taken heads, displays just how many heads they have hunted, most commonly 1, but sometimes as many as 5 or more. Conch shell pendants, which are worn on both the belt and the necklace are decorated with petroglyph-like pictures indicating status and wealth, plus they also tell stories of war.

The Naga tribal culture is alive and rich although it has not gone unaltered. We very much appreciate the Naga people with a propensity for handcrafted goods and a love of beads!

Click here to see the large selection of beads, pendants, amulets and necklaces which are available at Happy Mango.

Category : Jewelry Inspiration, Our Adventures

Comments (1)

Thank you so much for sharing this info – I’m fascinated by native peoples of all countries and find them so much more ‘civilized’ in many ways than our western culture – they may do things we find ‘strange’ – but there is always a reason and tradition supporting it.

Post a comment

The Cure to “Beader’s Block”

“Beader’s Block”…we all get it from time to time. You can sit and stare at your massive collection of beads for hours and just not know what to do with them. Sometimes all it takes is a little inspiration. Try looking at your favorite painting! It will have an awesome color palette, as well as convey a certain emotion that you can base your next project off of. Here are just a few ideas I’ve come up with while trolling around the bead warehouse…

“Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh paired with Javanese Glass Beads.








“Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci paired with Roman glass beads and bronzite gemstone beads.













“Guernica” by Pablo Picasso paired with bone beads and a glass focal bead.








“Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer paired with pearl beads.












“The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli paired with shell beads and recycled glass beads.


Category : Jewelry Inspiration

Post a comment

Put a BIKE on It!

So, here in Colorado, bikes are a pretty big deal. Going for a ride is a great way to get exercise, enjoy the gorgeous weather and scenery, and get a little wind flowing through your hair. I recently blogged about the bead-dazzled bicycle for “bike-month” at Trimble Court Artisans…but I also made several other bike-themed pieces for this display. And most of them use items purchased from Happy Mango Beads!

I acquired a few pewter bike and gear charms, an enameled copper pendant with a bicycle on it, and some Czech glass beads for a pop of color… I think the end-result is pretty fantastic.

Sometimes, themed jewelry can be over-looked, as it’s so specific. BUT just like you can “put a bird on it”, you can put a BIKE on it! What’s your favorite theme of jewelry??

Happy Mango Beads

Category : Beads, Beads, Beads, Jewelry Inspiration

Post a comment

Where in the World is Lapis Lazuli?

The beautiful blue stone of Lapis Lazuli is primarily mined in four places around the globe (actually it is only currently mined in three places): the northeast region of Afghanistan, Siberia, and in the Andes mountains of Chile. The fourth location where the stone used to be mined is actually just outside of Crested Butte, Colorado on North Italian Mountain. I had always known about the current mines, but I was unaware of the abandoned mine outside of Crested Butte until a recent visit to the area. With mines dotted all over the western slope of Colorado, this was not a surprise. There are additional locations around the globe where this stone may have been mined including Burma and Mauritania, though the stone from these areas is not thought to be gem quality.

Another fun fact about Lapis? Sure! The stone prompted the term ‘royal blue’ because the deep blue hues were so highly regarded by royalty in ancient times.

Happy Mango Beads

Category : Beads, Beads, Beads

Post a comment