Dystonia & Beading UPDATE: 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...

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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....

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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...

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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...

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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...

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OLD Indonesia

Well, you may have noticed that we recently listed a smattering of OLD Javanese glass beads. Naturally, this elicited some research about these ancient beads. Here’s the down low:

Majapahit refers to a vast, powerful empire based in Java that spanned many other islands from approximately 1293 to 1500 AD. According to Nagarakretagama (Desawarñana) written in 1365, Majapahit was an empire of 98 tributaries, stretching from Sumatra to New Guinea. In consisted of present day Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, southern Thailand, Sulu Archipelago, Manila, and East Timor–wow, that’s HUGE!

Jawa Timur is Indonesian for ‘East Java’. The Indonesian slang for Jawa Timur is ‘Jatim’ or ‘Javanese’ (yes, you have probably seen this painted all over our website).

How does this all relate to beads? Well, the beads from the Majapahit era have various specific details to them such as mosaic patterns (similar to those in Millefiori beads), feather trails, and bird designs. Additionally, beads from this era show great influence from Roman and Middle-Eastern beads before 700 AD. More interesting about these beads are the historic uses for them. They were naturally worn in necklaces, but they were also used in place of jewels in rings and other jewelry, and supposedly Javanese Millefiori beads were used to cover the eyes, nose, ears, mouth, navel, and genitals of corpses (Collectible Beads, Robert K. Liu). Beads from this area may have been traded from India, China, Europe and the Middle East based on similarities between beads from these regions, but it is not certain.

Happy Mango Beads

Category : Beads, Beads, Beads

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These Opal Gemstone Beads are on FIRE!


As I was going through our gemstone inventory last week, I ran across a strand of beads here in the Happy Mango Beads warehouse that I had never seen before! I was mesmerized by it’s beauty and wanted to know more.

I’m familiar with traditional varieties of opal, mostly the majority that stem from Australia, but had never seen anything like this… Ethiopian Opal. It’s soft honey color and iridescence create an effect that makes these beads look like they are glowing. I almost want a whole necklace, just made of these!
Opal Beads
You may be aware that opals are not actually gemstones (specifically, minerals). They are deemed “mineraloids”, as their crystallinity does not fall in the parameters of what is acceptable for minerals. Opals are formed in volcanic regions, when water is deposited into the fissures of rocks. Depending on the region they are found, different colors are produced.

For instance, Mexican Fire Opals have a distinct orange and red coloring to them, whereas most of the Australian Boulder Opals have more purple and blue. But the soft glow of these Ethiopian Opals surprised and intrigued me, and I’d never seen anything like it. While they may not be as vibrant as some of the other opals found around the world, they are certainly beautiful in their own right.

Snag some while you can – we only have a few strands left!
Happy Mango Beads

Category : Beads, Beads, Beads

Comments (1)

These are so lovely.
Can you get larger sz
Perhaps 8 mm ?

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October is quickly approaching, and it’s getting to be the season of tricks, treats, scares and screams. I sell my own jewelry collection at a local co-op in Fort Collins, CO, Trimble Court Artisans, and since I am the featured artist next month, I have been scurrying around making jewelry like crazy! In preparation, I had a fellow artisan design some one-of-a-kind porcelain monster pendants for me to use in my show. After sorting through his creations, I selected my favorites to make jewelry with, and Happy Mango Beads has recently acquired some as well!

Here’s a preview of some of the fun ways these little monsters can be used. I’ve combined them with faceted crystal beads, seed beads and sterling silver components to make some truly unique jewelry. And while they may be inspired by the season, these pieces can certainly be worn any time of year.

What would you make with one of these awesome pendants? Pick out yours here!

Happy Mango Beads

Category : Jewelry Inspiration

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September Birthdays, I’m looking at you!

Yes, it is nearing the end of September but, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEPTEMBER BABIES! Hopefully you ate a lot of cake this month and maybe you received a piece of jewelry with your birthstone on it?! The sapphire is a totally gorgeous stone.

The most prized color of sapphire is dark blue but it can be found in nearly every color of the rainbow. Sapphire is the third hardest mineral on the Mohs scale and it is a variety of the corundum mineral, as is ruby! Folklore says that wearing sapphire will protect your loved ones from harm.

Sapphire has a long history of being associated with royalty and romance so all you Virgo’s and Libra’s out there better put your tiaras on and start assembling your court as your birthday month is almost over! You still have a few days left to be queen!

Happy Mango Beads offers some beautiful strands of Sapphire that would work well in all types of jewelry! (Or for tiara embellishment. Either one.)

Faceted Rondelle Sapphire Beads - Happy Mango Beads

Category : Beads, Beads, Beads, Gemstones, Jewelry Inspiration

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Dystonia & Beading

Bead SoulUPDATE:

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 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.

Learn more at:

~ Samantha

UPDATE:  Thanks to all our wonderful customers and their purchases during the month of September from our “Blue is for Dystonia” page, we were proud to donate $100 to Dystonia research (or 10% of the nearly $1,000 of beads sold from the page).  Thank you!!

Dystonia Awareness

Category : Jewelry Inspiration, Meanderings

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