One of the things that has happened over the last several years is an explosion of different types of silver beads. When I first started making jewelry, the choices were pretty much sterling silver or silver plate. The sterling silver beads were gorgeous, but came no where close to the styles and varieties available today.
For me, the first type of interesting silver I noticed was Bali silver. Nina Designs is an excellent source for this silver and I believe Nina has done a lot to further the understanding, appreciation for, and distribution of Bali silver. I then began seeing something on the market called Thai Hill Tribes silver. I think I saw it first at a bead show and if I remember correctly, the vendor was Na Bo Row and they had a mouth-watering display. Thai Hill Tribes silver has a higher silver content than sterling silver and an amazing variety of designs is available from Na Bo Row and many other companies. It’s hard not to want it all and I truly appreciate the artisans that make these beautiful beads as well as the companies that work hard to make them available to us.