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Crafters - Grow Your Own Beads!

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 3 12

The Amazing Job's Tear Plant

Beading, Nutritional Information, Steriod Alternative

As per ancient texts and excavated cave paintings - people have found ways to adorn themselves using natural resources such as bone, tusks, teeth, sea shells, gemstones, seeds and pigment dyes of the earth.

Many of these natural resources need to be "finished" by cutting, polishing, piercing, or carving - but not Job's Tears (Coix Lacryma-Jobi) - a natural and almost perfect bead from a tall roadside wild grass that American Indians called the "corn bead plant."

This plant is a relative to the corn plant and the seed even has a hole through the center making it a natural bead for stringing. This hard droplet-shaped seed, beautiful in earth-tone shades will even become naturally shiny by absorbing the body's natural oils - a' la natural pearls - or it can be carved, dyed or painted. Beads sold for crafting should not be eaten as they may have been treated with various substances to make them more durable.

Commonly known as Chinese Pearl Barley or VyJanti Beads, these seeds have been naturalized in the southern United States and the New World tropics for hundreds of years. It is a tall grain bearing tropical plant of the many varied grass family, Poaceae, cultivated in gardens as an annual. It is native to the flora of East Asia and peninsular Malaysia and is grown in higher areas where rice and corn do not grow well.

David's Tears, Mary's Tears, Christ's Tears, Lacryma Christi, Chinese Pearl, Coix Barley, Lacryma-Jobi, Coixseed, Tear Grass, Adlay, Adlai, or VyJanti Beads, (Sanskrit) are names used for these amazing  Job's Tear Plants.  

 Two varieties of the species Job's Tears are grown.

1.  Coix lacryma-jobi var. lacryma-jobi: has hard shelled pseudocarps which are very hard, either pearly white or variously earth-toned colored, oval tear-dropped structures historically used as beads for making rosaries, necklaces, and musical instruments such as rattles in conjunction with the Gourd Plant. As many varietals of the plant grow naturally with a small hole through them, they are ideal for bead stringing.  Job's Tears are also cultivated as ornamental grasses and Western gardeners may not be aware that the large grains on these grasses are perfectly edible.

job's tears plant

 

 

2.  Coix lacryma-jobi var. ma-yuen: harvested as a cereal crop and is used medicinally in parts of Asia. Job's Tears are also commonly, but misleadingly, sold as Chinese pearl barley in Asian supermarkets, despite the fact that Coix lacryma-jobi are not of the same genus as barley (Hordeum vulgare), they are of the same family. Like barley, Job's tears are dense, rich in minerals, and easy to use in a variety of recipes.

Nutritional Facts and Intriguing Recipes - #1 Below

1. Jobs Tears, Chinese Pearl Barley  

Pearl Barley
 

Yi Yi Ren

 

Amazing Medicinal Alternative to Steroids - #2 Below

2. JOB'S TEAR* (Syn. Coix seed; Chinese pearl barley

Research from WebMD reveals the following information: "Job's tears is a grass. The grass, root, and seed of the plant are sometimes used as a medicine.
Job's tears contains chemicals that might interfere with cancer cell growth. Other chemicals might also have antioxidant effects and also decrease growth of bacteria and parasites. But most research on Job's tears is in animals and test tubes. There isn't enough information to know if Job's tears has this activity in people. Fiber contained in Job's Tears might also decrease how much fat and cholesterol the body absorbs.

 

Job's Tear Bead Rosary

Except for its use in rosaries there seems to be no religious meaning to the name Job's Tears, despite the biblical reference to Job.  The scientific name does suggest the plant was originally known as "Job's Tears" because "lachryma-jobi" means "Job's Tears."

 There is the heartbreaking saga of ,"The Trail of Tears". that is referenced to the Native American Indians, whose story I would be remiss in not mentioning.

In the winter of 1838; the U.S. Government began a relocation westward of many Native American Indians: The Cherokee, The Muscogee-Creek, The Seminole, The Choctaw Nations and others. They were marched along with little clothing, many with no shoes or moccasins - through flash floods, sleet and snow. It is said The Cherokee were given blankets infected with small pox and many died on this journey. They suffered from exposure, starvation, illness and multitudes died including nearly 4,000 of the 15,000 relocated Cherokee. The food rationing included a handful of corn, a turnip and 2 cups of warm water daily. Because so many died on this horrendous march it was called "The Trail of Tears." 46,000 Native American Indians had been removed from their homelands within a few years.

"The Trail of Tears" legend tells that wherever a tear fell - a plant sprang from the earth - the corn bead plant, Job's Tears. The bead, being naturally tear-dropped and shaded in grays, symbolizing the color of grief, is made into jewelry in memory of "the trail where they cried."

Religions such as Hindu, Catholicism, Buddhist & Wiccian use rosaries made of Job's Tears. Pope John Paul II and Mother Theresa were both partial to and used rosaries created with Job's Tears beads. In many countries the beads are worn for good luck.

People with an artistic bent can find fun and fulfillment in growing and crafting their work in the growing of Job's Tears. Each plant can produce about 30 beads.

To grow the Job's Tear Plant scarify (nick the hard seed shell with a knife) before planting. Work your soil and add compost if needed. The plant can grow in almost any soil including poor soil.  Sow seeds 6-9 inches apart. The plants prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Plants grow between 4 to 6 feet in height and bloom in the late summer through early fall. The plants are pollinated by the wind.

The seeds should be allowed to dry on the stems before harvesting. A few seeds should be left on each stalk for self seeding.

Job's Tears Desktop

 

The stalks can be used in floral arrangements, both fresh and dried. The dried seeds/beads can be strung on string, dental floss or fishing line using a sewing needle to craft necklaces, bracelets or rosaries. The beads can be left their natural color, dyed,  or painted.

In Central America the seeds are used to form the arms and legs on tiny seed dolls. In Africa the seeds are woven in a net and used to cover a gourd to make a shaker gourd musical instrument.

Growing and creating crafts from Job's Tears can be both fun and rewarding as in paying homage both to Mother Nature and the Native American Indians as a satisfying side effect. Use has been traced back to 2,000 B.C.

As one idea leads to another, your hobby of growing and crafting your Job's Tears beads and/or mixing them with other crafting beads could easily turn into a jewelry making business or an eagerly anticipated gifting audience.

Job's Tears Earrings

 


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Comments

Mar 11, 2011 3:46pm
Lynsuz
Very interesting.
Mar 11, 2011 4:18pm
Venetia
Thank you so much for stoppinig by. I appreciate it!
Mar 11, 2011 7:37pm
Deborah-Diane
Fascinating article, and it also brings back some memories. In my youth, we used to dry watermelon and cantaloupe seeds and string them to make jewelry. I hadn't thought of that for a long time!
Mar 11, 2011 10:56pm
Venetia
Well how cool is that!!? Kids would just love that. Crafters too. These were the only seeds we beaded as children but now as I drift into "my artistic/arthritic years" LOL - I will remember to try that. (we did tie those little carnation looking clover flowers into bracelets and necklaces) Thank you so much for your comment amd stopping by.
Mar 13, 2011 3:01pm
CrystalNici
Venetia, you came by by my sunnyspeaks site and left a comment. Thanks so much for that, thought I would comment on here so you saw the connection! That is the site I was hoping for a article or two for :D
Love this article there are some amazing natural beads you can make, look forward to swapping notes sometime
Nici (aka sunnyspeaks) xxx
Mar 13, 2011 11:28pm
Venetia
THank you CrystalNici....I really like your website (sunnyspeaks.com). Have not been able to read through all of it - but did note crafters lair and thought your readers might enjoy my comment.
And yes, we must swap notes. Thank you for stopping by.
Mar 19, 2011 10:15am
southerngirl09
Thank you for sharing this very interesting article on how to grow your own beads. You have sparked my interest; I am going to look for a Job's Tear Plant for my yard.
Mar 19, 2011 11:13pm
LoveSpaces
I love your articles so far - interesting, useful and so well written.
Mar 20, 2011 2:26am
Venetia
@southerngirl09
@LoveSpaces
Thank you both so much for the comments. You are both so kind and I appreciate you stopping by.
May 8, 2011 5:50pm
sound_foundation
Wow, another great article, Venetia. I have forwarded this on to an old friend who does a lot of jewelry making. Keep up the great work!
May 9, 2011 11:49am
Venetia
@sound: Thank you so much and I hope your friend finds value in the article!
Aug 29, 2011 10:54pm
aguy
Wow - this is really really interesting. This is such great info.

Who'd have thunk it?

Do you grow any of these?

This is just cool.
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