In 1666, Issac Newton used a simple prism to break apart the wavelengths of light into their rainbow of colors. (This had been done before). But then he used another prism to put the colors back together again into clear light. (This had not, and was an act many at the time could not fathom.) The colorless light of the sun, thought by those in 1666 to be the pure gift of God, Newton was revealing, contains every color of our kaleidoscopic world.
I look at glass beads from West Africa on our studio table—their lttle orbed worlds shinging as though from within—and wonder about how they capture that much light.
In Ghana, glass from discarded bottles is gathered for recycling, cleaned, labels removed; and then, with a heavy hammering tool, broken into small pieces, sometimes even into powder. The shards are placed into small bead-size molds, put in a kiln up to 1200 degrees to fuse, and removed halfway through cooking to puncture a hole in each future bead. Finally, when finished and cooled, each bead is polished by hand with sand against stone, washed again, and strung on raffia.
When the beads reach Ibu, our own creative team re-strings them on strong, fine thread with macramé knots, adds secure clasps and sometimes amulets also from West Africa, and places each utterly unique shining color in our Ibu Signature Jewelry Collection.
I want adornments which are as real as they are beautiful. And what is more real than that which is fetched from the discarded shards of life and melted into something luminous? This malachite green! This cheeky pink, this spirited yellow!
I think of our separate lives, our small orbs—often broken, sometimes shattered, all of us fired in the heat of daily challenges. Yet how we shine when threaded with one another, how our many colors—joined—return to perfect light.
All the best,
This summer, in our tenth year at Ibu, we are returning to some of our signature jewelry collections to bring back what you've loved best. This month, we're re-introducing our popular recycled glass creations.