Julie Delsoldato doesn't know what she would do if she wasn't making glass beads.
Each one is unique, and a lasting gift with a very personal connection. Delsoldato crafts beads with your loved ones ashes for her business, The Golden Bead. "I hear so many people say, I have so and so in the closet, I should do that -- I have them all lined up on the mantel," Delsoldato said.
She first makes a round glass bead, then rolls it through the ashes while the glass is still hot. The cremains are then preserved by encasing the bead in clear glass. The beads get turned into things like jewelry and sculptures. Every bead is different and can be customized. "It's an awesome feeling to have them with you everyday," Delsoldato said.
On this day the ashes of a cat and a dog were her medium. When The Golden Bead started three years ago, Delsoldato just made plain beads with her partner in crime -- Remington. "My Golden Retriever, Remington, loved making them with me. All I would say is, 'It's time to make the beads,' and he would go down with me and he'd be by my side the entire time," she said.
Remington passed away from bone cancer when he was eight. It was a difficult time for Delsoldato. She couldn't bear to create without him. She buried Remington, but one day came across a hair ball she had saved from him. She decided to put some of his fur into a bead. She was so impressed with the pattern it created in the bead she tried something else. "I had my moms ashes, so I decided to put the ashes in the bead, and I loved the look of it," she said. "Just having her with me everyday -- I get comfort from that."
Delsoldato likes to know something about the person, or pet, she's working with -- their name and their story. She sends out vials in the mail. Customers put a small amount of the cremains in the vial and ship it back. Any remainders are returned to the sender. Beads start at $45 and go up from there. A necklace can cost around $300. There's a two week turn around time. Delsoldato knows the beads aren't for everyone, but says the people who do appreciate her work find it comforting and freeing. "The hugs that people give are just amazing. You feel them so deep because they're healing and helping," she said.
A tangible connection to a loved one who passed, with beads that are Made in Vermont.
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