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glass redThis is a set of red glass beads and pendant for your matching earring/necklace designs. The earring beads (approx. 1 mm. long) consist of clear red glass set in gold oval frames. My understanding is that these are vintage, from the 1950's. The pendant (approx. 1" long and 1 mm. wide) is of blown glass with gold and other elements, with a generous horizontal hole (through the red section), ready for stringing. This is not vintage, but it is beautifully handcrafted, and it goes so nicely with these beads that we are offering it as a set for your jewelry designs.

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mardi gras beadsSince I was born and raised (during my early years) in New Orleans, Mardi Gras has always been an important event in my life. And Mardi Gras beads are an essential part of that experience! Every March in New Orleans, crowds of people line up at the parades to catch as many beaded necklaces as their necks can hold.

These parades typically run throughout the Carnival season, which officially begins on January 6 (the Twelfth Night of Christmas). The carnival season ends on Fat Tuesday, the day before the start of Lent. Back in the 1800ā€™s, sugar-coated almonds were thrown into the crowd ā€“ in a tradition similar to the festival customs of the English Renaissance era.

In the late 1800ā€™s, the tradition of bead-throwing began. Inexpensive necklaces of glass beads were an instant hit among locals and tourists alike. Legend has it that a man dressed up as Santa Claus was the first person in a New Orleans parade to use the beads in his costume. Other tourists soon followed his lead, and now many continue to decorate themselves with bead necklaces at Mardi-Gras time.

By 1900, over 100,000 tourists traveled to New Orleans to participate in the celebration and to get some of their own Mardi Gras beads. Over the years, other Mardi Gras souvenirs have also been passed out to the crowds during the parades ā€“ including plastic cups, toys, Frisbees, figurines, and doubloons.

Despite all of these other souvenirs, bead necklaces remain the most popular trinket passed out during the celebration. Today, Mardi Gras beads can be found in various sizes, shapes, and colors. The most popular size today is about thirty three inches long. They are also now made with cheaper and safer materials like plastic and aluminum rather than glass. Traditional Mardi Gras beads are purple, green, and gold colors. The purple symbolizes justice; the green represents faith; and the gold signifies power.

If you are participating in the Mardi Gras carnival this year or hosting your own Mardi Gras party, make sure you get plenty of colorful beads!

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