ashmiri beads also known as “Lac” , “Bollywood” , “Maruti” beads or “Srinagar” beads are pretty much the most colourful and artistic beads you’ll ever come across. These are old beads and manufactured locally but have burst into the beading scene no more than 5 years ago and taken the beading world by storm. Also throw into mix very similar beads which I recently came across from Indonesia and I simply call them Indonesian beads.
Most of these beads looks very similar in design, feel and look but there are subtle variations and design differences to make them a little bit different from each other – particular attention needs to be paid to the composition of these beads even though the artistic weaving and decorating will look similar and only the individual artistic flair separating these beads apart and would require a trained eye to trace the origins of Kashmiri beads.
Kashmiri beads relay on a mixture of resins and marble powder whereas Lac beads are mostly resin but claimed to have come from natural sources. The origins of Lac are from a tiny insect called Kerria Lacca which are very small insects from the Kerridae family which is native mostly to Asia and the main source of Lac which is refined into shellac for further use like creating these wonderful beads. As for the decoration goes then the design and concept are similar as mostly embellishments – made from broken mirror, silver or gold plated wire, seed beads and rhinestones are very easy to stick to hot resin or resin which have been heated. Lately polymer clay & fimo material is also widely used in making kashmiri beads.
Maruti beads are an off-shoot of Kashmiri beads but a perfect fusion of silver plated wiring with generous use of rhinestones beads, glittery seed beads all decorated in a completely 100% handmade intricate patterns which shows the artistry and true appreciation of the master artisans. Often these beads are considered as Kashmiri beads but they should be just considered as a rival beads with roots from Kashmiri beads but they have earned the title of the most stunning, glittery and the most colourful beads from among the Kashmiri beads family.
A gallery of stunning Kashmiri beads – all images taken from Melworks Beads