Beads first appeared more than 30,000 years ago and have been present in all cultures throughout history. They spread during migration and though we, in the West, most often think of beads as adornment, the long history of beads and beadwork includes so much more.
They were used as currency (portable wealth), indicators of social status, political statements, and religious belief. They encompass infinite shapes, colors, sizes and are made of just about any natural (and now days, not so natural) materials.
Each continent and era has had their own unique bead style and jewelry: necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings that can be identified as to time and place simply by their design or pattern.
So, know that when you wear beads or create your own beadwork, you join a time honored tradition.