The Latest & Greatest: Fall Features 2015

Think Pink



Madagascar Rose Quartz

The Madagascar Rose Quartz Brian brought back from his most recent travels has us all singing “Think Pink” like Kay Thompson in Funny Face for fall! While Rose Quartz is a perennial favorite due to its soft pink hue and loving energy, this version that comes to us from Madagascar is an especially vivid incarnation of pale pink.  It’s also famous for its luxe inner glow, rich translucent color and subtle, captivating luster.

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Custom Rose Quartz mala

While we’re not sure that Pantone or the world’s fashion designers know about our latest acquisition, we can’t help but notice that they love the hue as much as we do – it showed up all over the runways!

We’ve gathered a collection of some of our most delicious pink semi-precious bead strands and jewelry into one spot for you to check out, so come on over and Think Pink with us!





Iris Apfel

We’ve been noticing that the love for the warm and sunny hues of Amber has been steadily on the rise in our shop. In response, we’ve stocked the store with some of the most exquisite and rare Amber that we could get our hands on just for you. These amazing colors are all natural!


Michael Kors SS16

Not that it’s necessary for fashion and jewelry to be in sync – especially when it’s something as classic and heirloom worthy Amber – but for those who may be reticent to wear shades of yellows and oranges, we were delighted to find similar hues strutting down the runway.

Although these pieces of Amber jewelry worn by Iris Apfel and worn in Michael Kor’s Spring/Summer fashion show may look heavy because of their decadent size, Amber is actually amazingly lightweight!  While Amber is considered to be very precious and valuable, it is not technically a stone: Amber is fossilized tree resin. We carry a few different types of natural Amber, named for the region in which they are found:


Baltic Amber (succinite)

shortambnecklaceBaltic Amber is found along the shores of the Baltic Sea and dates from around 44 million years ago; it includes the most species-rich fossil insect fauna discovered to date. It contains about 2-8% succinic acid acid, so it also sometimes known as succinite.

Baltic Amber is considered very healing, and is often seen as a natural teething necklace for infants due to its noted analgesic properties. It’s also known for strengthening the body’s immune system and breaking a cycle of chronic inflammation.

Burmese Amber (Burmite)

ambermalaBurmite is is from the Hukawng Valley in the northern state of Kachin in Burma. Historical accounts say that Burmese amber made its way from the valley to the Roman Empire via the Silk Road in China as early as the first century AD. According to  accounts, Burmite is could very well be at least 100 million years old!

This type of Amber is often very clear and is known for its darker colors of deep reds, sherry and burnt orange. Because of it’s age, it is generally harder than other types of Amber and can take a higher polish. It is known for sucking negative energy out of the body and to clear the mind and body from stress. Rare Burmese amber is also noted for its uncanny ability to regulate digestive processes as well as bring a balance to your endocrine system.

Indonesian Amber (Sumatran)

sumatranamberIndonesian Amber is unique because of its tendency to have less inclusions, it’s darker color and, most of all, its natural florescence. Unlike Baltic amber which may often contain bits of bark, trapped air bubbles, and sometimes insects, Sumatran amber is relatively less included but features dark color areas within its reddish-cognac body that resemble leopard spots. In many cases the fluorescence is observable under normal light; it is of course much more intense under UV light.
Shop our Amber collection.

Starry Night


blackopalnugget2There is no doubt that Opals are amazing – they are the birth stones for October, after all! Most people are familiar with the stone, but not with the variety and breadth of colors in which Opals can come. Fire Opals, Grey Opals, Green Opals and Black Opals – the most rare. Each color is brimming with the interplay of different colors that sparkle in the light.

greyopalrondelleBrian brought back a slew of amazing Black Opals that can’t help but remind us of a starry night; the Grey, Green and Fire Opals glimmer with colors that remind us of aurora borealis blooming across the night sky. We couldn’t help but pick a few fashion ensembles that present a similar vibe – though these amazing Opals will go with just about anything.

Shop Starry Night!





Out In The World: MR Magazine – August

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We just love these shots from MR Magazine‘s August issue featuring Beads of Paradise jewelry alongside some pieces that would look right at home on any Beads of Paradise fan. It’s great mens jewelry inspiration – we love both the piles of malas as well as the more subdued looks. A single strand of metal or wooden beads make a great versatile accessory that will go with everything, or toss an amulet or pendant onto a simple cord for an equally easy but stylish look. The best thing about it is that there are no rules – you can make it totally your own, as blinged or blissed out as you please.

Check out some shots that didn’t make the magazine on the MR Magazine website and some behind the scenes look on William Buckley, MR Magazine’s Fashion Director’s instagram.

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Inspiration: Falling into Autumn


It took only but a moment of poking through February’s Fall/Winter 2014 fashion shows to catch the Beads of Paradise NYC vibe flowing through them; before we knew it, despite all of our day to day happenings, we found ourselves diving in and following the offerings of the world’s designers. It’s clear that designers in the U.S and beyond are captivated by the rich traditions and crafts of world culture and the do-it-yourself design fervor that has swept the nation, consistently incorporating these themes into their collections. We love to take inspiration from these talented designers, who reminded us how every wearable – in addition to beautiful – so many of the especially eclectic and eye-catching pieces perched upon the shelves in our shop can be.

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Celebrating the Mother Goddess


As we open our arms to May, we also usher in the arrival of Mother’s Day. This yearly celebration of mothers and mother figures has come to be seen as a holiday built on commercialization, but it has roots in cultures around the world that can be traced back hundreds, if not thousands of years, to societies that were matriarchal and/or held women on equal footing as men. Many of these societies had their own form of the Mother Goddess, figures that represent and/or personify nature, motherhood, fertility, creation, destruction and who embody the bounty of the Earth.

Though many western religions have done away with or downplayed their Mother Goddess figures, they are still integral parts of religions and cultures originating in other parts of the world; many of these figure’s legends, lore and symbolisms have traveled throughout the world, capturing interest wherever they go. These mother figures honor the goddess energy embedded within all women and, as you learn about them, you’ll likely recognize some of their traits within yourself. In them, you may even be able to see your own mother.

photo 1If you’ve been into our shop, you’ll have seen some of these goddesses regarding the store from their perches on our shelves and windows. Durga is one of the most popular of the Hindu Goddesses and is considered by many to be the Divine Mother Goddess. Multi-dimensional and comprised of many personas, she was born of a cosmic crisis, when the male gods found themselves unable to defeat a pack of demons led by Mahishasura. With multiple arms each holding a weapon gifted to her from the gods, Durga took down the band of demons with a calm aplomb and finesse. Goddess Durga is called upon to protect her devotees from their suffering and remove their obstacles; she is the embodiment of purity, knowledge, truth and self-realization, and preserves moral order and righteousness in the universe. The four day long festival of Durga Puja celebrates this battle win, the triumph of good over evil. Preceding Durga Puja is the nine day festival of Navrati, which honors  the nine forms of Shakti energy – of which Durga is considered the physical embodiment.

photo 2As Durga is the highest embodiment of this energy, there are three goddesses that are separate manifestations of her energy known as Tridevi. Goddess Lakshmi is seen as the embodiment of love and a more soothing, kind and warm mother figure as compared to Durga, in addition to being the goddess of wealth, fertility and spiritual fulfillment. After being insulted by the gods, Lakshmi left their world, leaving them bereft of all success and fortune. In her absence, the world became dark and greedy. To get her back, the gods worked together to churn the ocean for 1,000 years until Lakshmi rose from the depths on a lotus flower. Lakshmi bestows success on those who work hard and with devotion devoid of greed.

Goddess Saraswati is known as the goddess of knowledge, the arts and the free flow of wisdom and consciousness; she is the mother of the Vedas. One of the oldest goddess figures, Saraswati was originally a water photo 4goddess associated with a river of her own name. Each of her four hands represents an aspect of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness and ego. She is worshiped for her knowledge and wisdom, and it is thought that she is the only one who can grant “moksha” – the final liberation of the soul. Though Saraswati is not one for domestic bliss nor material wealth, she looks upon the past as an experience with which she is at peace and goes forward.

In addition to being a part of the Tridevi, both Sarawati and Lakshmi are considered daughters of Durga. The third goddess of the Tridevi, Parvati, is considered another form of Durga. Parvati maintains the fierce energy of Durga, but is more gentle and motherly. She is the essence of power. Her relationship with her husband, Shiva, is an photo 3example of divine feminine power in harmony with the masculine.

As you can see, women and motherhood are venerated and celebrated year round in cultures around the world. While we celebrate Mother’s Day today, we honor motherhood and the divine goddess in all, always. What goddess most resembles your mother? In what goddess do you most see yourself? We celebrate all of your amazing Mother Goddesses today, and all of the Mother Goddess energy within you.

If one of these goddess has captured your interest, stop in to learn more about them and look at our lovely figurines and posters. Online, you can shop some of our applicable pendants and figurines, or gift the Mother Goddess in your life with a beautiful piece of handmade jewelry to make them feel like the goddess you know they are!

(originally posted May 11, 2014)


Dances of Impermanence


Many of us, especially in the west, fear death. It’s seen as the end of everything – a door slammed, a book closed, a voice and a soul silenced. It hasn’t always been that way, however, and for some cultures around the world it still isn’t the norm. While skulls and skeletons and bones may send a shiver down our spines, for some the connotations are quite different. As it happens, skulls, human skulls (and bones, too), are frequently used in the rituals and practical lives of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism. While this use of skulls and bones is indeed aligned with death, this fact of death is not as morbid as it is many other places: it’s just the way it is. The skulls and bones are intended to remind us of the very fact of our impermanence, that death will eventuallyBOPImperanence come to us all, and to embrace lives filled with compassion, service, loving all, and happiness (without the pursuit of happiness) whether the things happening in our life are good or bad.

In Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, when a whole human skull is decorated it is called ayama, whereas a partially decorated skull is called a kapala, or skullcap. Kapalas used as cups are decorated with silver, brass and sometimes gems and may be carved with Tibetan symbols. As human skull yamas and kapalas have become harder to source, crystal replicas are used in their place and may be decorated in a similar manner. Crystal skulls have the added benefit of carrying their own unique healing energy that some find preferable to bone.


Individual beads in the shape of the skull also call to mind the Goddess Kali, who wears a skull bead necklace. Kali represents the death of the ego and liberation from the notion of I-am-the-body notion, reminding us that our physical bodies are temporary, while we are the the eternal I AM. Mahākāla is also associated with skulls, as he is frequently seen wearing a crown of skulls and carrying a skull cup. This 5 skull crown represents the transformation of the five   kleshas  (states of mind such as anxiety, fear, anger, jealousy, desire, depression) into the five wisdoms. The chopper that he holds symbolizes the act of cutting through negative patterns like aggression, hatred and ignorance. While Kali and Mahākāla’s appearances may appear frightening, it is clear that the meaning and purpose being them is anything but.

The Dance of Death (1493) by Michael Wolgemut

The Dance of Death (1493) by Michael Wolgemut

As a cue to how the universality of death links cultures from around the world, the Tibetan Citipati  and Danse Macabre bear a striking resemblance. The Citipati are two skeletons, one male and one female, entwined in dance after their heads were cut off by a thief as the two meditated unaware, never leaving their trance. Their symbol is meant to be a visual reminder of the eternal dance of death, perfect awareness and impermanence. They are honored in dance twice yearly, once during summer and once during winter, symbolic of the cycle of life and death.


Watching these dancing skeletons might have caused a flutter of recognition in your mind; although you may not have been familiar with the Citipati, we’re guessing you’ve seen all of the bright skulls and skeletons that abound surrounding the celebration of the Day of the Dead. The early November holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have passed. Graves are cleaned and decorated with trinkets, homes are filled with food and candies as well as altars with photographs and momentos of the deceased, and stories and anecdotes are told. DODskullSkulls are a common symbol of the holiday, and can be seen in masks (called calacas) and snacks such as chocolate or sugar skulls, inscribed with the name of the recipient.

The origins of the Day of the Dead trace all the way back to the Aztec festival honoring the goddess  Mictecacihuatl, Queen of the Underworld, who watches over the bones of the dead. This celebration of the continuance of life after death was originally much longer than its current associations, lasting from around the end of July through mid-August, but was shortened after the Spaniards conquered the Aztecs in 1521. The Catholic Spaniards attempted to rid the Aztecs of their rituals and convert them to Catholicism and, when they failed to do so, they reached a sort of compromise.  The celebration was shortened to two days and moved to early November so as to correspond with the holidays of All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day.

These two holidays are actually a part of a trifecta of Catholic days of worship collectively referred to as Hallowmas, beginning with All Hallow’s Eve, which we now know as October 31st’s Halloween. Our modern version of this holiday, filled with candy and costumes, originates with the Celtic (with possibly Pagan roots) harvest “Samhain” and “Calan Gaeaf” harvest  festivals. These festivals marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter, and were considered a point in time during which spirits could more easily come into our world, allowing souls to revisit their homes. While these familial souls were welcomed in their homes with a feast and a place at the table, at the same time this influx of spirits and fairies were seen as capable of causing home and so needed warding off. These rituals, such as “guising” and “souling” meant for warding off spirits are where our modern Halloween customs of dressing up in costume, going door to door for candy, carving Jack-O-Lanterns and so on arose.

So many cultures have rich traditions surrounding death, and it’s fascinating to see how so many of these rituals were more of a celebration and honoring than a mourning. These traditions and their similarities can be traced from North to South and East to West, all around the world in a dance across time and space, joined together in impermanence.

(Originally posted October 25, 2013)


Inspiration: New York Fashion Week SS14

As September draws to a close and Autumn slinks into the city, we’re looking to New York Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer 2014 showings for a little inspiration.


It took only but a moment of poking through February’s Fall/Winter 2014 fashion shows to catch the Beads of Paradise NYC vibe flowing through them; before we knew it, despite all of our day to day happenings, we found ourselves diving in and following the offerings of the world’s designers. It’s clear that designers in the U.S and beyond are captivated by the rich traditions and crafts of world culture and the do-it-yourself design fervor that has swept the nation, consistently incorporating these themes into their collections. We love to take inspiration from these talented designers, who reminded us how every wearable – in addition to beautiful – so many of the especially eclectic and eye-catching pieces perched upon the shelves in our shop can be.

We began the task of digging into the slew of fashion shows and, as we went through them, felt increasingly inspired both by the looks that had a very Beads of Paradise vibe, in addition to all of the ideas they spurred in regards to things we could make here in-store. Now, we’re certainly not saying you have to copy something directly from the runway – we know so many of our shoppers have their very own well-honed sense of style – but why not take elements from a look, or a variety of looks at that, and let them be the jumping off point for your very own one of a kind design?

Scroll on for some of our favorite trends from NYC’s week of fashion and get inspired!


One of the first trends that hit us during the round of shows was all of the Frida Kahlo love. Our frequent customers know how much we love Frida, with her face adorning some of our signature stickers and the bits of Frida that peek out at you throughout the store. We loved all of the Mexican and South American influences stomping the runways and how deeply cultures from around the world influenced the jewelry, patterns and colors.


Bold metal collars were prevalent on the runway, immediately calling to mind all of the outstanding statement making Afghan torques we have in the shop. They’re quite outstanding pieces and we love seeing them worn.

A match made in heaven, leather juxtaposed with metal offers a clean, organic look while maintaining a contemporary vibe.


We loved the varied use of macrame and parachute cord on the runways. If you like this look, you might like to check out our case of macrame jewelry that’s made in store. You can also have a piece made to suit your individual tastes or take our class to learn how to make it yourself.  Mix it up with leather and/or metal components for an individual, standout look.


Our customer is no doubt accustomed to seeing tassels on malas, but it appears that tassels are taking over the jewelry and accessory front, adding a soft tactile touch that moves with you to golden necklaces, belts and as an adornment to any ensemble. How might you like to incorporate a tassel into your next piece? 


A simple necklace with a pendant never goes out of style, but we were struck by the great lengths of many necklaces on the runway. We saw all manner of pendants, too, showing off how the sky is truly the limit when it comes to jewelry.


These necklaces start out short but wind up long, showing up as both bold statement pieces as well as more delicate dangling looks. We were surprisingly taken by the very simple lariat pieces, and can imagine some beautiful variations on the theme.


It’s no surprise that we love these beaded pieces. Make them big, make them bold, pile them on and rock them with aplomb. You can’t go wrong with this look, no matter how you want to interpret it.


Pearls were big on the runway and not just in the expected ways. You can wear your classic single strand of course, but you can also inject a little joie de vivre and quirk to the classic with lots of layers, putting them in unexpected places, or mixing them in with some other beads or stones. (A little leather and metal, anyone?)


Do something different and think out of the box! Beads of Paradise NYC is filled to brim with all kinds of raw materials and a talented staff that loves a design challenge. Maybe you want a standout individualized version of the growing-in-popularity first knuckle rings; a ear cuff or hairpin; a wire wrapped and chain belt or waist-piece; a unexpected bit of gemstone bling. We’re ready to work with you, so come on in with your ideas!

We also noted some color and pattern trends that you could incorporate into your jewelry designs. Perhaps you like some of the colors you saw on the runway, but don’t want to drape your entire body in them or buy a whole new wardrobe to incorporate some of the style elements? Jewelry is a fantastic way to update and elevate your style and bring some higher fashion elements into your everyday wardrobe. Coming up soon, we’re going to show off some jewelry inspired by look fresh off the runways.

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(Originally posted September 30, 2013)


It’s Not About the Destination

On Wednesday August 7, the Beads of Paradise family was not in their usual location; on this special evening, we migrated down the street amidst a light spattering of rain to the illustrious Rubin Museum of Art, where we were ushered into the theater with our bags, boxes and, of course, beads (lots and lots of beads, as always). In this new environment we quickly got to work setting up for the first ever Mala Making Workshop, while Geshe Lobsang Ngodup looked on and chatted amiably and the Rubin team went over the plans with us and made sure everything was set to run smoothly.

Outside the theater, we could hear the group of attendees being led on their tour of the Count Your Blessings exhibition as our teams went over a final rundown of the evening’s plan. We took our places as the doors opened and the group of 60+ participants filtered into the theater and settled into their seats, filling the room with a quiet anticipation and excitement.

Every one was ready to begin on their mala making journey.

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Geshe Lobsang Ngodup took to the floor with a fascinating discussion on malas and their history, showing his own mala that he’s worn for many years as an example. He explained how there are many types of malas and many materials of which they could be made, in addition to the significance of the traditional 108 beads and the meanings of a few number and material variations. He impressed upon the group that a mala didn’t have to be fancy, it could be a simple or elaborate as can be – it’s the personal meaning and intention behind the prayer beads that’s most important. 

Joe introduced the Beads of Paradise crew and went over the evening’s plan as Dawn of the Rubin Museum facilitated the coordination of sending the eager group up to choose their supplies. Arriving to the stage, the attendees were given a bag with their basic supplies and led to a colorful grouping of beads and tassels to choose from; not unlike when visiting our store, the curated yet diverse selection drew giddy smiles, but also bouts of indecision. What on earth to pick?

Once everyone was settled, our Rosie took the stage with Geshe Lobsang Ngodup by her side and began to lead the eager group in the mala making process. The rest of our team walked amongst the tables, helping out when needed. Some parts of the process went smoother than others, as attendees set forth to complete portions of mala making that even our long-time staff don’t find to be a breeze. With a little bit of patience and a dose of guidance from staff, every one found their way. A favorite moment of ours is when Geshe Ngodup reminded everyone that the process is not so much about the destination, but about reveling in and appreciating the journey – a notion that holds true not just in mala making, but that can easily be applied to many factors in our lives.

As everyone finished up, Geshe Ngodup took the floor once more to do a blessing over everyone’s malas. Leading the group in a lesson in how to use their malas, attendees held their prayers beads and bowed their heads in concentration as they repeated mantras over and over with Geshe Ngodop. A feeling of peace settled over the room as the evening closed out, and everyone left with a mala that was, if not perfect, then certainly meaningful.

Needless to say, all of us at Beads of Paradise had a great time leading this large, wonderful group and, not unlike the attendees, we learned some things ourselves. We’d love to thank the Rubin Museum for inviting us to take part in this event and all the attendees, too! We’d love to have you come see us in the store!

Check out the Rubin’s event pictures, right here.

(Originally posted August 16,2013)