When I was a little girl, I enjoyed rearing caterpillars  I found in the garden. I always let them go after they emerged as butterflies from the pupal stage into my large plastic bag enclosure. Once, just once, my aunt managed to bring me some silkworms to rear.

Silkworm and cocoon (picture source)
A kind neighbor gave me fresh mulberry leaves from their garden to feed the voracious little things for about 40 days! Each silkworm spins about 1 mile of silk filament from its salivary gland. It completely encases itself into a cocoon in a couple of days.

Dyed Silk Cocoons Flower cutouts  : Silk Cocoons from OandN Craft Supplies
Sericulture began as far back as 5000 – 3000 BCE in China.  The practice spread to other countries including Europe.  One European town still producing natural silk is "Silk Town" or  Soufli in Northern Greece.  Making silk was a major industry there in the 19th and early 20th century. While the production has since declined, they still make quality silk.

Undyed silk cocoons cut like leaves
Did you know silk cocoons can be used as jewelry and crafting materials? Tina Anapnioti of OandN Craft Supplies sources these beautiful natural products directly from Soufli. Textile, fiber, mixed media jewelry artisans will revel in them!  

Dyed silk cocoon halves
They come dyed in different colors or undyed and cut in different shapes. The flower shapes are great as bead caps! OandN also supplies whole undyed cocoons (including the dead pupa inside).  By the way dupioni silk with its distinctive knobbly look, is made from double cocoons formed when 2 silkworms create them side by side.

The shop also carries a fantastic range of silk cords and other stringing materials at very affordable prices. This satin braided silk cord is a beauty :

 As is this midnight blue braided thick silk cord :

 Thick cords like this beautiful twisted 9 mm silk cord have many applications in jewelry making.

OandN also supplies beautiful Greek ceramic beads with larger holes.  These are either handmade or created using manually operated machines. They are hand painted about 7-12 times and are fired  up to 3 times. I really love the multicolored ones above as well as the crackle slider beads below.

These ceramic beads resemble lava beads indeed!

This is just a small sampling of the OandN store! So check it out.

OandN Craft Supplies are sponsoring a $40 gift certificate for any of their products. If you'd like be one of the winners, please make a comment below.  Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.

Subscribers need to click on the post title to come to my actual blog. Scroll down and enter your comment. Pick Name/URL. If you don't have a store or blog, leave the URL blank.

This giveaway is international.

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments.

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday,  January 27 , 2014. I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips