Saturday, July 24, 2010

Betel Nut Beads...What are they?

I have made a couple of jewelry pieces with the Betel Nut. I thought I would do a little research about them and share it.
They are commonly known as Areca Nuts. The nuts are seeds of the Areca palm found in the tropical Pacific, Asia, and parts of east Africa.   Technically, they are not nuts, the areca is a fruit and can be found in similar forms as our typical fruits such as dried and fresh.

Believe it or not, the betel nut can be chewed wrapped in betel leaves. Hence, the Betel Nut name it is commonly known as. Why are these chewed? When the nuts are chewed, there is a stimulant effect on the person. The effect varies by person, but usually it's no more than a cup of coffee.  The fruits are found to cause many cancers in the mouth. From what I can tell, the areca are as common in Asia as peanuts or raisins for instance in the US.

When the fruit is dried, it takes on properties similar to wood. You will find in betel nut beads, a dark rippling throughout the bead. This makes each bead unique because no two fruits are the same. Beads are often dyed. These beads are incredibly strong. What I like most is that they come from nature. The person who will be wearing this bracelet and earrings will be wearing a dried fruit that could have come from the tropical forests of Asia. What a cool thing!

Below are pictures of the Areca Nuts you might find interesting. The fruit uncut, and the inside of the fruit and the trees from which they come.








Photos were pulled from Wikipedia.

4 comments:

  1. Too cool, I learned something!! They do make beautiful beads!

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  2. Yea, I thought so too. Thought I'd learn a little bit about them since I made jewelry with them.

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  3. Wow, this is incredibly interesting. I'd never heard of them before. I like the pieces you made as well.

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  4. Thank you! They're fun to work with. You can find them in a variety of colors. I found some that were white yesterday.

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