The Coyote's Game Blog

Coyote's Game Native American Beadwork & Crafts

25. June 2013 06:01
by coyotes

Oldest Cave Art in the US Discovered

25. June 2013 06:01 by coyotes | 0 Comments

Researchers have announced the discovery of prehistoric art dating back 6000 years located in caves on the Cumberland Plateau in and near Tennessee.  These pictographs, the oldest U.S. cave art to date, offer a glimpse into the lives and beliefs of early Native Americans.

The rock art include drawings of hunters, birds and snakes, as well as what authors of the article in Antiquity describe as heroic or ceremonial images of humans turning into animal forms, flying through the air, or reaching through walls.  While most of the drawing are pictographs, a few are images scratched into the damp clay of Mud Glyph Cave, according to the Fox News story.

Lead author Jan Simek, professor emeritus of the Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, hypothesizes that the cave art may be tied to surface rock art in the area.  He suggests that the art may show images from three levels of existence: an upper, celestial world, a middle world showing life on the earth’s surface, and an underworld.  Cumberland Plateau cave art often depicted images of a lower world filled with darkness, danger and death.  For example, scorpion drawings appear only in deep caves where they appear to be part of the First People’s lower world imagery.  Others, such as transformation images and rayed circles, are found both on surface objects as well as in caves.

For pictures and more information go to:

25. June 2013 05:44
by coyotes

Native American News from Here and There

25. June 2013 05:44 by coyotes | 0 Comments

Native American Fashion Look Book Published

Beyond Buckskin has published a look book featuring the original fashions of 17 Native American designers.  Released March 12 in Las Vegas, Nevada, the book covers the work of: Consuelo Pascual (Navajo/Mayan), Bethany Yellowtail (Crow/Northern Cheyenne), Jamie Okuma (Luiseno/Shoshone Bannock) and Dick Bernanin. Streetwear is by Alano Edzerza (Tahltan), Jared Yazzie (Navajo), and Candace Halcro (Cree/Metis), and the jewelry is by Ista Ska (Lakota), Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit/Aleut), David Gaussoin (Navajo/Pueblo), Andrea Preston (Navajo), MaRia Bird (Hopi/Navajo), Kristen Dorsey (Chickasaw), TSOul (Navajo), and others.

Designed to show the range and professionalism of Native American fashion designers, Beyond Buckskin includes clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories.

For more information go to:


Paul Frank Announces Collaboration with Native Artists

Four American Indian designers have been chosen for a first time ever fashion collaboration with designer Paul Frank.  The limited edition collection will be unveiled in August during Santa Fe Indian Market week, at a special showing co-hosted by the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum.

The accessories featured by Paul Frank include a silk screened canvas tote bag by Nooksack Louie Gong, beaded sunglasses by Cree/Metis Candace Halcro, graphic print tee shirts by Navajo Dustin Martin and, jewelry by Comanche/Taos Autumn Dawn Gomez.

For more information:

12. November 2012 10:45
by coyotes

Seller Beware

12. November 2012 10:45 by coyotes | 0 Comments

Beading is a skilled craft and fine beadwork an art.  For many Native people, beadwork is part of tribal culture, a skill handed down from generation to generation.  Because beadwork is used to make adornments for children as well as adults, and because some is classified as jewelry, it is regulated by law. 

At present, U.S. consumer safety laws do not require any special documents to import beads and jewelry findings.  Nor do they restrict beadwork and beaded jewelry for adults.  However, the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act does regulate all products intended for children.

Only the State of California’s Lead-Containing Jewelry Law and Proposition 65 require special documents proving adult jewelry components meet their safety standards.  Anyone who lives or works in California, or who sells to customers from California must comply with both of these laws.

California requires all manufacturers to provide certificates showing that their products comply with California law, and Proposition 65 requires anyone employing 10 or more people selling or distributing products in the State of California to include warning labels.  These labels must state that the product contains specified hazardous materials or, that the product may contain a hazardous material.

With some exceptions, most beadwork for adults falls into the second category.  The warning reads:  “This product may contain a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.”  There are two reasons why the warning is required.

First, because the chemicals listed in Proposition 65 are reviewed twice a year.  California's logic is that just because beading components are not classified as harmful now, some chemical used for coloring or lining the beads may be found to cause harm in the future.  Use of warning labels protects jewelry makers from unintentionally breaking the law.

Second, although these laws were intended to regulate things like cast lead jewelry charms for children, they have resulted in a flood of lawsuits that include possible harm to adults—not always because it was proven that someone got cancer from the product, but because they “might” get cancer.  Without the warning, at some future date, the seller or maker of beaded jewelry may find themself in court trying to prove that their jewelry didn’t cause harm.  Even though most beaders don't employ 10 or more people and are exempt from Proposition 65's warning, no one is exempt from the threat of lawsuits.

Certainly children should be protected from toxic materials.  But how far we should go to protect adults from possible harm caused by swallowing or inhaling something that was clearly meant only to be worn externally as jewelry, is debatable.  I suspect the adult provisions in these laws have more to do with the fact that today stupidity is profitable and benefits the legal profession, than with controlling potentially harmful substances.

And it seems a pity that in order to protect ourselves from lawsuits, we should be forced to put scary warnings on something meant to bring beauty and joy to our lives.

27. September 2012 06:12
by coyotes

How Current Lead-in-Jewelry Laws Affect the Beading Industry

27. September 2012 06:12 by coyotes | 0 Comments

A fair amount has been written about jewelry and current laws regulating the amount of lead and other toxic substances in products for children as well as adults.  At the risk of adding to the mass of information already on-line, here is how we believe these laws impact the beaded jewelry craft industry.

Even if you don’t make beaded jewelry designed for children, if children are able to wear the jewelry (such as necklaces, earrings, barrettes, bracelets), for your own protection you should be aware of current laws.

These laws were passed because in the United States several children have died or become seriously ill from chewing on or swallowing jewelry parts made of lead coated with another material or jewelry parts having a high lead content.

The US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

The main law that must be considered is the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008.  This law limits the amount of lead and other toxic materials in products intended for children age 12 and under.  On August 2011 the amount of lead allowed in children’s products was reduced to 100 parts per million (1%).   Products with a higher amount of lead covered by surface coating or electroplating are not allowed.  Thus, parts and findings made of electroplated lead are not safe for children.  The amount of lead in paint and surface coatings may not be higher than 0.009 percent (90 parts per million).

In addition, anyone making products intended for children under age 12 must age grade their products and follow other standards set out in the law:    CPSIA also regulates products not intended for children.  To see a list of these products, go to .

One important section of CPSIA that beaders and jewelry crafters who make children’s products need to keep in mind is the ban on small parts for children under 3 years old.  The Act defines a small part as any object that fits into a cylinder 1-1/4” in diameter x 2-1/4” long.  The term “small part” includes:  (1) a whole toy or article; (2) a separate part of a toy, game, or other article; (3) a piece of a toy or article that breaks off during testing that simulates use or abuse by children.  This definition makes most beaded jewelry illegal for children under 3.   

The term “beads” includes everything from Swarovski crystals to heishi to plastic pony beads.  Most beaders who sell their work to stores and at craft fairs use glass beads of one type of another and this article will deal mainly with glass.

Glass beads are manufactured in various countries.  Companies each have their own manufacturing method.  Some use lead in the glass making process, others don't.  For example, Miyuki, who makes Delica beads, states that they do not use any lead in the actual glass making process, but some of their slips and linings contain lead.

Most bead manufacturers have a contact email address on their website.  If you use beads from one or two manufacturers exclusively, we recommend you contact them and ask about lead content.  Some bead manufacturers have already posted information on line about lead in their product.  One of these is Kandi Corp. that makes Swarovski crystals.  Beaders who use Swarovski crystals in their work should read their lead content statement    

At least two states have passed laws restricting the amount of lead and other dangerous materials in children’s products—Illinois and California.  While these laws are essentially superseded by the CPSIA, until the provisions of California’s Lead-Containing Jewelry Law are tested in court, jewelry makers must comply with it.  California’s Proposition 65, which requires warning labels on any products that contain toxic materials, affects all jewelry makers who work in or ship to California.

The California Lead-Containing Jewelry Law

In 2009 California passed a Lead-Containing Jewelry Law to protect children from jewelry containing high amounts of lead—the amount of lead varies depending on the type of material.  The law also restricts use of any part with more than 3% cadmium (300 parts per million). 

California's law breaks materials into three classes.  No jewelry, for children or adults, may be manufactured in, sold in, offered for promotional purposes, or shipped to California that does not exclusively use materials from one or more of their three classes.

Class 1 materials are precious metals (gold, silver, etc.) stainless or surgical steel, natural or cultured pearls, most but not all gemstones, natural decorative materials such as shell, wood and leather provided they have not been treated in a way that adds lead, adhesives, and “glass, ceramic, or crystal decorative components, including cat’s eye, cubic zirconia . . ., rhinestones and cloisonné.”   There are additional restrictions for children’s jewelry that craftspeople should check out.  BellaOnLine has an excellent summary of this law as it relates to children’s jewelry.

Class 2 materials include electroplated metal with less than 6% lead by weight, unplated metals with less than 1.5% lead, plastic or rubber including beads and stones that contain less than 2% lead by weight and have a dye or surface coating with less than 6% lead by weight.

A Class 3 material is any part of a piece of jewelry that’s not a Class 1 or 2 material and that contains less than 6% lead by weight, including watch timepieces.

The State of California has an on-line fact sheet that explains the law in detail.    While many beading materials fall within one of the three classes of acceptable materials, it’s a good idea for jewelry makers to know the law and then check with their suppliers.

We asked a representative of the California Dept. of Toxic Substances Control if jewelry suppliers and retailers are required by law to warn customers that jewelry parts may not meet legal standards for children's jewelry.  The answer is "no."  

However, manufacturers and suppliers who sell to retailers are required to include a certificate stating that their products do comply with levels of cadmium and lead under the law.   The certificate can either be displayed prominently in jewelry packaging or in the shipping container.   This means that no one selling jewelry or jewelry making supplies in the State of California should be selling products that don't comply with the law.

As far as the individual beader or jewelry maker is concerned, unless the package containing jewelry making materials has a children's age warning somewhere on it, as do many products from Hobby Lobby, it's up the customer to ask whether the items they're buying are okay for use in children's jewelry. 

California Proposition 65

Proposition 65 requires businesses that employ 10 or more people to include warning labels on products containing lead or chemicals known to cause cancer and/or reproductive toxicity.  Anyone making beaded jewelry who has less than 10 employees doesn’t need to put warning labels on their products.  However, if you sell to a store or distributor with 10 or more employees, it’s likely that you’ll need to include the warning.

Chris Franchetti Michaels points out in her BellaOnLine article that, as a beader, it’s wise to let your customers know in an honest and personal way that the beads you use do contain some lead, and should not be given to children as gifts, nor should children be allowed to play with them.  It’s also a good idea to include pets in the warning although no current law mentions them, since dogs and cats will chew on things they find lying around.

Canadian Hazardous Products Act

Most countries in the world have laws covering toxic materials, particularly in children’s products. Anyone who sells beaded jewelry on-line should be aware of laws in the countries where they do business, whether they use Etsy, eBay or have their own web site.

Canada is right next door and, with the U.S./Canadian free trade agreement, it’s logical to sell to our neighbors.  Item 42 of the Canadian Hazardous Products Act went into effect in 2008.  Glass and crystal jewelry parts are specifically named in the law.  It prohibits the importation, advertisement or sale of any jewelry intended for children under age 15 that contains more than 600 mg/kg of total lead and more than 90 mg/kg of migratable lead.  “Migratable lead” is the amount of lead which is released from a product when it is brought into contact with a liquid solvent.  It’s also important to note the age Canada defines as a “child.”

Last year, Canada Health announced a ban on cadmium in children’s jewelry, restricting the level of cadmium to .013%.   To read Item 42 of the Hazardous Products Act:

The European Union’s Toy Safety Directive

In 2009 the EU strengthened existing laws on child safety.  “Child” is defined by the new directive as anyone under the age of 14, which is two years older than the CPSIA’s definition.   Although the law is called the Toy Safety Directive, it includes “gray area” products such as items for collectors, historical replicas and “fashion accessories which are not used in play.”  Beaded jewelry and clothing adornments fall into this category.

Strict limits are put on the amount of nickel in children’s products and no intentionally used lead is permitted.  Since many of the glass beads used in beadwork come from EU countries, the manufacturers need to comply with EU laws, but that only means they consider the beads safe for adults.  For more information on the Toy Safety Directive use this link:    


These laws make it difficult for beaders and jewelry makers because of the need to make sure all of their materials comply with various laws.  For children’s jewelry, the CPSIA should be the baseline.  Jewelry intended for adults can include beads and findings that are not legal for children’s jewelry, but it’s a good idea to keep California’s Lead-Containing Jewelry Law in mind.  As things now stand, the burden of determining if jewelry making materials meet California's standards for children is on the jewelry maker--not on the supplier or retailer.

If you sell outside the United States it’s essential to read the laws of the country you’re exporting to, because they’re different from ours.  If you sell at craft fairs, flea markets or on-line, there may be no way of knowing where the buyer lives or who they’re buying for.  Native beaders who sell a variety of beadwork at craft fairs should rethink offering beaded children’s items such as baby mocs and baby barrettes.  It’s now illegal to sell any beaded jewelry for children under age 3 except jewelry using large pieces of material meeting the size requirement that have 1% or less lead content.

Common sense can help avoid problems and law suits.  If you design for adults and suspect someone is buying for a child, gently tell them that the beaded item is not intended for children under a certain age and can be harmful. 

18. June 2012 09:13
by coyotes

The Best of the Best--The Story of Charlotte Beads

18. June 2012 09:13 by coyotes | 0 Comments

by J-Me and Guy of Wild Things Beads

Charlotte cut seed beads are the Cadillac of seed beads, the one cut facet making them sparkle and shimmer. Considering how popular they are, they are very hard to get in any form of consistency, and beaders who know, buy them whenever they can, and keep their sources secret.

According to Peter Francis, Jr. Charlotte cuts were first used in 1847 in France, for the garment trade. Although Peter doesn’t know the origins of the name, in a recent letter to Bead and Button magazine by Elliot Greene of New York, Elliot states the name was attributed to his daughter. Elliot Green is an importer of Czech glass beads, and one of only a small handful of importers of charlotte cut seed beads.

Seed beads have been made for centuries, in Italy, France, and Bohemia; according to Peter Francis, Jr., the beads were made in Venice and Lyon, then sent to Bohemia for faceting.  Seed beads are no longer made in Italy, and France.

The only European seed bead manufacturer now in existence is in the Czech Republic. The factory is Ornela, located outside of Jablonec nad Nisou, where most of the Czech glass bead industry is located. Ornela is the world’s largest seed bead factory.  Having said that, charlottes are almost impossible to get, and most bead stores are always in short supply, as are the few importers who carry them. Why this is the case is a mystery, because charlottes are very popular.

Charlottes were originally only made in size 13/0, but then 11/0 were made, and now charlottes are available in 15/0, 8/0 and 6/0.  Because technically only 13/0 are charlottes, all the rest, (11/0, 15/0, 8/0 and 6/0) are called one cuts or true cuts. But if you are not a purist…then charlottes are really what they are called.

Charlottes are made in many colors of glass, and some are made with different lusters and coatings. Some of the most desirable charlottes on the market today are the precious metal charlottes such as 24 kt gold, sterling silver, copper and marcasite. However, buyers should be aware that there are two varieties of the precious metal charlottes – the painted (galvanized) seed beads and the baked on ones. The painted charlottes are much less expensive than the baked on ones, are not as bright, and the color comes off almost immediately upon contact, leaving the core base of crystal or alabaster showing through. Needless to say, this will ruin a project you would be doing. The baked on charlottes are quite a lot more expensive, but the coating will last much longer, if not indefinitely. Some beaders have reported that the coating will come off where repeated contact with other beads or metal findings rubs against the charlotte cut. Also, wearing your jewelry with these coated charlottes in the hot tub or pool will cause the coating to fade. But if you treat your beads with care, they will last a long time.

J-Me Lynn of Wild Things Beads has been creating this fancy anklet for over 35 years with various types of charlottes.

In response to the need for charlottes, Japan has entered the market as well, with Toho offering 12/0 and 15/0 charlottes. Unfortunately, they are only available loose.

In a recent comparison of Toho charlottes and Czech charlottes, the Japanese charlottes are not the same size. The Toho are larger. (Size 15/0 are really a 14/0).

As of July 3, 2005, the first shipment of 11/0 gold and silver charlottes arrived in our warehouse, along with 13/0 gold, in the 1/8 kilo bundles. There are approximately 19 hanks in the 13/0 bundles, and 11 hanks in the 11/0 bundles. The quality is exactly the same.

As previously mentioned, Elliot Greene of New York is one importer of charlotte cuts, but only carries 13/0. Other importers are: York Novelties of New York, who carries 13/0, 15/0 (but only loose), 11/0 and 8/0, Shipwreck Beads of Washington, who carries 13/0, Buy-Lines of Los Angeles, who carries 13/0, John Bead of Canada, who only carries a small amount of 13/0, and Wild Things Beads of Penn Valley, California. We carry 15/0, 13/0, 11/0, 8/0 and 6/0, depending on supply from the factory.

© 5/31/05 – updated 10/13/06

This is a shortened version of J-Me and Guy’s original article reproduced with their permission.  To read more go to:

Wild Things Beads is an American wholesale importer of glass beads, buttons and crystal prisms manufactured in the Czech Republic and Germany, supplying bead stores and the costume jewelry industry.  They also have a website  where you can find heaps of wonderful information about beads from all over the world.  Wholesale customers with tax ID numbers can order beads on-line.  In the near future Wild Things Beads plans to have a retail website.  If you're interested in being put on their retail list, send J-Me an email by going to their home page.

Specializing in the more exotic colors and coatings, Wild Things offers charlottes in 24 kt gold, sterling silver and marcasite, metallic chocolate bronze, green with a bronze luster, amethyst with a bronze luster and, cobalt blue with a bronze luster. These coatings look bronze when you hold them down, but when you hold them up to the light they become transparent green, purple, or blue.

Wild Things Beads have been in business since 1982, starting off in the arts and crafts industry, selling at flea markets, craft fairs, church fetes, art shows, and Quartzsite, Arizona before specializing in glass beads, first as a retail establishment, then in 1998 as an import house.The owners are Jamie and Guy Lynn, a wife and husband team. Both were in corporate employment during the beginning days of Wild Things Beads.