Its been a joy to learn more about the different metal beads, and I have always loved silver in particular. Balinese silver beads have especially begun to be something I really enjoy learning about, because of their history and beauty. There is a true art form to them. Its more than just another silver bead. These beads can show us a lot about one people group's culture.
In many places around the world, you can find beads that reflect a culture. Different communities can refine their style over time. In Bali in particular, you will find they have some unique "silver smithing" traditions. In fact, a whole lot of Southeast Asia does as well.
Bali has held to their Hindu traditions, much more than many surrounding places. They remain Hindu, while some others have adopted Islam and Muslim practices. I think its great that the have held on to their Hindu practices rather than turning more to Muslim ways. They also have kept their own versions of arts and crafts. For example, their jewelry making, and dancing have held more to their ancient traditions.
Some of things I like about Bali Silver Beads is the way they create their designs, and how they look upon completion. Its neat to learn about their hammering techniques, filigree work, as well as how they inlay and engrave different ways. They are just beautiful works of art and seem to have grown in popularity. You see a lot mimicking going on as well of these beads, so be sure to check your sources, and don't be afraid to ask questions.
I would love to visit Bali and witness these things first hand. They now have developed their work into a popular and thriving industry that has helped their local economies. I think its great to support that and create some wonderful jewelry here in the states, using these beautiful beads! Call around to your own local bead stores and suppliers, and ask them if they carry them or plan to in the future.
The more you see and learn about Bali Silver, the more you will likely come to enjoy it like so many others. There is a special process called antiquing that I have seen them use. It is a process where there is a black antique finish given to a bead. It looks older and oxidized and has a really cool effect.