There have been a number of recent jewelry books with designs inspired by the rich history of the Old World.  But Kathy Fox's new book which I just received for review is different.  It is a travelogue, bead history and jewelry making book all rolled into one!

Beaders who adore Venetian beads made on Murano Island will not only be enchanted by The Venetian Glass Bead: 24 Colorful Jewelry Projects but will learn all about these outstanding beads. For example, Kathy shares her insight on how to spot imitations and covers the different types of Venetian beads.  Some like Missoni, Miro and Klimt beads are named after famous artists.

Her passion for these beads began with a foray into the craft. It was a quick hop to opening her first bead store in Naperville, Illinois called The Place to Bead. Later on, she and her husband opened Bella Venetian Beads which is now the largest importer of genuine beads in the US. 

Her numerous business trips to source the beads cultivated her passion for the long history and culture of Italian glassmaking which she shares in the book. The chevron bead or rosetta shown above is also known as the "Queen of Venetian beads". They were developed in the 15th century. Chevrons are still popular today especially in West Africa but the real Venetian variety is harder to come by due to numerous replicas in the market.

Many of the designs incorporate Italian names and even buildings. The San Marco jewelry set is named after the Basillica di San Marco in Venice. Indeed this book includes many of the outstanding places to see should one be lucky enough to visit.

Basillica di San Marco

My initial impression of the book couldn't be more wrong. At first I thought the projects may not be challenging enough for more experienced beaders but on closer inspection,  a number of them do introduce the reader to a wide variety of techniques.

The author covers multi-stranding, knotting, cord work, wire crochet, ribbon work, wire coiling and a single bead wire wrapped ring project.

Perhaps the most challenging project in the book at least for beginners is the Viking knit one.  This technique and particular design really showcases Venetian beads.

Grazie, Kathy for an enjoyable book!

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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