Beads and Baubles

By Louise Irvine

The jewelry artists represented at WMODA have a passion for beads. They source them from their travels around the world and create unique works of wearable art. Local glass artists also make glass pendants in their Florida studios, echoing the techniques pioneered by artisans in Murano centuries ago. Call for more details of the treasures featured in time for your holiday gifts.

Glass Beads

The Venetian Island of Murano has been famous for its glass beads for centuries. Most Murano beads are made using a flaming torch in the lampworking technique. Colorful striped beads can also be made using the filigree method of glass blowing. The zigzag patterned rosetta beads, first developed in the 15th century, were traded worldwide. The millefiori, or thousand flower pattern, is made by a glass rod technique perfected in the early 19th century.

Diane and Mauro Gennaretti travel regularly to Murano to commission glass for their Italianissimo jewelry collection. They work with today’s artisans to breathe new life into traditional Venetian techniques. Their gorgeous glass medallions with trailed designs in molten glass were inspired by famous Impressionist, Cubist and Surrealist artists, including Picasso, Matisse and Modigliani. Italianissimo’s jewelry is timeless, chic and "very Italian."

Glass jewelry is also made closer to home in Chelsea Rousso’s Florida studio. Chelsea is an expert in kiln-formed fused glass, making gems of all shapes and sizes for pendants and bracelets. She creates beautiful glass medallions and sometimes collaborates with the museum’s very own Luis Montanez, the owner of Matchless Glass to present these unique works of art on sterling silver chains. Chelsea is a brilliant teacher of fused glass processes, and many of her students have made jewelry during her creative glass workshops at WMODA.


Wendy Chercass considers herself a beadaholic, and she searches internationally for interesting beads from the markets of the Czech Republic to New York and Miami. She weaves tiny beads into beautiful bracelets featuring portraits of famous personalities like Marilyn Monroe and Frida Kahlo. She believes that beading is therapy and loves to teach others her various beading methods, including peyote, brick stitch, right angle weave and herringbone. Wendy lives in Hollywood, FL and spends all her spare time beading. She is happy to make custom pieces.

Vintage Beads

Esther Gold makes jewelry featuring antique and vintage glass from the 1920s onwards. She has been an ardent collector and is inspired by Lalique and Tiffany. Many years ago, Esther discovered a treasure trove of glass and brass in Providence, RI, renowned as the costume jewelry capital of the world. She fashions her rare finds into beautiful necklaces and earrings mixed with sterling silver chains, crystal beads and semi-precious stones. Her glass scarab designs are from the Art Deco era when Egyptian art was all the rage. For the last 15 years, Esther has sold her jewelry to boutiques, antique stores and museum shops. She moved from New York City to Delray Beach a few years ago and now sells her work at WMODA.

Blanche Nonoo often uses vintage and antique beads in her exquisite jewelry designs. She enjoyed cultural experiences internationally during her distinguished career as a graphic designer for the advertising business in New York City. On her travels, she acquired rare gems, agates, crystals and amulets, which she incorporates into her one-of-a-kind necklaces. She has even turned a snuff bottle into a jewel!

Blanche's appreciation for antiquities led to her prized collection of Japanese netsukes, which she often incorporates into her rare wearable art forms. These miniature sculptures were intricately carved in wood or bone from the 17th century and evolved from practical items into art objects. They were used as toggles on traditional Japanese robes without pockets to attach holders for personal items. Blanche's unique designs have been featured in magazines and fashion shows and sold at luxury retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. Now that Blanche is a Florida resident, we proudly feature her work at WMODA.

Natural Beads

Christine Rosasco is a South Florida native who is passionate about appreciating and respecting Mother Nature. She started making jewelry in 2013 to relax from her career as a paralegal and launched her company, The Waxxing Crescent. Christine believes that jewelry is a way to express and enhance the natural beauty inside of each of us. She has enjoyed learning about the mineral compounds of the stones she uses and how each mineral contributes to the metaphysical healing properties of each stone. The butterfly wings that she incorporates into her designs are about bringing new life and appreciating the exquisiteness of these unique creatures.

Call the WMODA Museum Shop if you want details of any of the featured jewelry before we reopen. 954-376-6690 or email