Recently a new kind of bead has been showing up on the market. I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling the frustration at the cost of precious metal findings and beads. I used to use a lot of silver and 14K gold fill chain and beads in my work, but with rising prices I cut back on my purchases.
This past year or so my friends (See links on this page for Afghan Tribal Arts and Silk Road Treasures)) were carrying metal coated resin beads that are much more reasonably priced than the precious metals. For a long time I didn't use them much, but as my supplies dwindled I decided to try them.
I combined them with the handmade Afghan heishi, beads and buttons my friends carry and also with freshwater pearl for some unique looks.
The beads come in a variety of sizes and shapes. I'm told they are made in Indonesia so many have that nice ethnic look which works well in my designs. I'm posting some pictures of a sample of the beads and examples used in my work. The clasps in the copper/resin photo are not resin.