The earliest bells were made of pottery in Neolithic China over 3,000 years ago. Metal bells later followed. Bells were initially small. They had utilitarian uses such as animal collar bells, chariot bells and as handbells to alert people.  Exodus in the Bible mentions small ornamental gold bells on the robe hem of the high priest in Jerusalem. 

Bells eventually got larger and were used in churches and temples around the world. The bells were also chimes to indicate time - very useful in times when few people had personal timepieces. The traditional bell metal is usually bronze with about 20% tin. This alloy is also used for the finest Turkish and Chinese cymbals because it gave a pleasant tone. But the bell's tone is mainly due to its unique shape.

In the days when transportation of large bells was difficult, bell pits used to be dug on site so that the bellfounding or bell making process could be carried out close to where it was needed. A furnace was built next to it.

Notable bells include Big Ben in London, UK, the Liberty Bell in the US and the insurance company, Lloyds of London's Lutine Bell. This bell used to be rung once for an overdue (and possibly lost ship) and twice for its safe return. It still tolls on the death of the British monarch, most recently Queen Elizabeth II. 

Christmas bells are today a popular symbol of the festivity. Bell ringing has its history in pagan times when people made noise to scare away evil spirits. Churches ring bells to announce the start of services. Victorians liked to ring handbells when they went caroling. The association of bells with Christmas became even stronger with popular songs like Jingle Bells. 

Here are some beautiful Christmas bell ornament and jewelry tutorials by talented designers. Please note that some of these are DIY kits. 

Shown above is a delightful beaded bell ornament tutorial, complete with a Santa Claus hanging for dear life. The Italian designer is Claudia Cattaneo of Happyland87. I have previously featured her wonderful work a number of times.

Another design by Claudia is this beautiful peyote bell kit and tutorial :

I love the colors used in this very Christmasy beaded bell ornament - it is available as a tutorial kit. The designer is again Claudia. 

UK designer, Teresa Morse, of IceniBeadDesign has several beaded bell tutorials including this one which features a star. I wrote about her amazing beaded vessel tutorials before here.

Want something simple and quick to make?  Check out the holiday bell tutorial set by Washington Cara and Lane Landry, the designers of SimpleBeadPatterns

Beaded fringe earrings fan will appreciate this Christmas bell themed pair!  The tutorial is from Ukrainian, Andrew of BeadingPatterns4Fun

These Christmas bell earrings pattern comes with beaded bows!  The beading4perfectionists tutorial is by Dutch designer, Gianna Zimmerman of b4pbakup.

This jingly pair of beaded bell earrings has little bells incorporated!  The Massachusetts based designer is May Brisebois of BEADiful2.


Carol of the Bells is a popular Christmas carol. Did you know it is actually Ukrainian in origin?  It is based on the original melody from "Shchedryk," written by the Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych in 1914. This was adapted into the carol we now know by American-Ukrainian composer and choral conductor, Peter J. Wilhousky, who wrote the English lyrics in 1922. 

Libera, a most angelic all boy choir from South London, UK, sing this beautiful carol in this video :

Libera is an amazing not-for-profit all boy choir (ages 7-16) whose members come from different backgrounds in South London. They prefer to be known as a boy band! They tour internationally.

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM