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Nature Beads.

Q: I have beaded some necklaces using 'Job's Tears' (which I grew last summer) and rose beads (which I made from the bounty of roses my husband has given me over the years). I have mixed 'Job's Tears' with glass bead....various others...very pretty. The rose beads are intermixed with silver, and/or 'Job's Tears'. Both 'natural' beads seem to shrink over time (several months) leaving unsightly gaps... What do I do?

A: This would be a major test of a beader's patience, but perhaps try stringing them temporarily, and waiting for them to fully dry before using them? 'Job's Tears' is an ornamental grass - I got a 2" pot in the herb section of a local nursery. It looks sort of like corn seedlings. The Japanese use the seeds somehow as a health food product - called "daimugi" I think ("large barley"), but I have no idea how to prepare it. The seeds are about the size of a chick pea, and very hard when dry. Rose beads are made out of rose petals - ground up into a paste and formed into beads, then dried. Also available are dried miniature rosebuds, which are pierced for stringing. K.. answered correctly...'Job's Tears' is a kind of grass. I grew it in my garden last year, and it produced many small 1/4 inch seeds. It had to be harvested daily throughout the summer (reminded me of what it must be like to harvest coffee beans). They must be picked at the right stage, when they are a dark brown color, but not yet white. When they are white, they are too dry, but when at the right stage, they dry to a pretty grey color...somewhat mottled. They have been used throughout history in other countries as beads, and are also used in making rosaries. Mother Theresa was buried with her rosary of 'Job's Tears'. And, yes, the rose beads are made of pulverized rose petals, mixed with a fixative and formed into beads and dried. That's the thing that puzzled me... both types of beads were dried according to the directions I could find... but, yet shrunk even more after stringing. I guess that's what happens when you fool with Mother Nature. :)