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The Ruth Smith Botanical Bead Collection is unique because it is one of only three institutional collection in the world and curated by species and country. It is important enough to be described separately in two web sites: http://www.botanicalbeads.com/ and http://www.herbcompanion.com/articles/12_01_06-Beads-Jan_HBC.
The Ruth Smith Botanical Bead Collection, established in 2005 at DOV, is a collection of 443 pieces from around the world. To our knowledge, only two other similar collections exist: (1) The Economic Botany Section of Kew Gardens in England (
http://www.kew.org/collections/ecbot/jewel.htm) (this includes about 250 pieces donated by Ruth Smith), and (2) The Berlin Ethnological Museum (http://www.berlin.de/museumsfuehrer.en/00019.html).

Each sample in the Ruth Smith Botanical Bead Collection is authenticated by the collector, with country in which the sample was collected, and identified to at least family, but most often to species (even the accompanying shells).

Suggested additional readings include:
Ide, L. S. 2000. Hawai'i's seeds and seed leis. Mutual Publ., Honolulu, HI.

_____. 2001. Hawaiian seed lei making: Step-by-step guide. Mutual Publ., Honolulu, HI.

Opper, M.-J. 1990. Scented magic beads in Africa made of aphrodisiac paste. M.-J. Opper.

Yow, C. 1998. Jewelry from nature. Lark Books, New York.


The Ruth Smith Botanical Bead Collection is intended for display, scientific research, teaching, education and other Herbarium programs. Future goals are to add species and countries not currently covered in the Collection.


Financial donations to the Ruth Smith Bead Collection have included the following, with thanks. We welcome your future participation!

Potomac Unit, Herb Society of America

North Carolina Unit, Herb Society of America

Eileen Cristina, Kneading Wellness

Mr. Thomas Selkow


Ruth Smith, photo by Susan Belsinger