Long Magatama beads (LMA) have a very distinctive petal shape which differs from the plump raindrop shape of the 4mm Magatamas (MA4). Traditionally magatama beads were comma shaped beads or jewels made in prehistoric Japan from clay or stone. The word magatama means "curved bead" and they can be seen throughout history. This ancient bead shape has been dated back as far as 1,000 BC.
Miyuki Long Magatama beads (LMA) have a beautiful silhouette. Their beveled shape is very different than that of other seed beads. The LMA beads are cut at an angle from back to front giving them their pointed, slightly slanted design. The hole is near the top of the bead, much like that of a drop bead, and the angled cut makes them look like a leafy thorn or flower petal. When woven together they sit just slightly on top of one another allowing you to create dragon scales, pine cones, petals, clusters, spikes, or anything else can imagine. Whether you are stringing, weaving, or braiding the Long Magatamas you will achieve a distinctive texture that is unique to this shape. The cut of the bead allows them to sit slightly off center, which is great for many different types of projects.
Miyuki Long Magatamas measure 4mm x 7mm with a hole size of 1.4mm. The large hole size enables them to be strung onto a thin leather or allows for multiple passes of thread. If you plan to do a kumihimo braid you will want to use the C-Lon cord (CLC) with a Big-Eye Needle for easy stringing. Also be aware that when braided, your bracelet or necklace will be quite thick. This means you'll need to add about an inch to your usual bracelet or necklace length because of the thickness of the project.
The uniform bevel design of the LMAs allows you to create either symmetrical or asymmetrical designs. It's important to know which type of look you will want before getting started. When creating a kumihimo braid this is especially important as you'll want to pay attention when pre-stringing your beads so they all are facing the right direction. For the "dragon scales" look be sure to face each bead the same way (bevel up or bevel down.) For a more organic/thorny vine-like shape, just string the beads randomly. The haphazard vine style looks great spaced out with size 8/0 seed beads.
Long Magatamas are perfect for spicing up your kumihimo, beadweaving, or bead-embroidery. Try them as edges on your embroidered pieces or as an accent to the end of some beaded fringe. They look incredible mixed with round seed beads in a leather wrap bracelets, or in a kumihimo bracelet using all Long Magatamas.
LMAs are available in an array of opaque or translucent shades as well as Picasso and metallic finishes. The large surface area of the glass in each bead catches the light, so they add more sparkle, depth, and texture to designs. If you're using the matte finishes, the look takes on a more earthy, organic style.
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Try these Long Magatama projects: