Tiny multi-coloured beads threaded onto cotton, worn wrapped round and around your wrist or neck. Never knew if you wore them when you were looking for love, in love or just had a “bit of love “to express!
The love beads fashion was a really a hangover from the 1960s summer of love, but still to be found in the early 70s on most girls throughout the school yard and beyond. The love beads could be small and discreet, or be huge chunky blocks around the neck. You could wear them tight around the neck or knot them in front of your throat leaving a loop that hung down.
Love beads could be any shape or size. The beads were even square sometimes, and the size of them meant that the beads had to be fitted on a wire thread, and not strung onto cotton or string.
In the main, it was the ladies who wore the love beads. The beads were on sale everywhere, and really, when you come down to it, they were nothing amazing. However, girls would have love bead making nights, where they would make multi coloured and multi shaped strings of beads from scratch. Some of these were even being sold in the school at lunchtime – perhaps some of these girls went on to be successful entrepreneurs!
In the early 70s, younger men did not wear any jewellery. It might have been ok for the US hippies in the summer of love but wearing beads was strictly out of bounds especially for school kids, although older cooler guys may have gotten away with it.. In those days, even wearing aftershave or cologne was seen as effeminate and a bit suspect. It is hard now to understand the furore that was caused by David Bowie when he appeared on Top of the Pops in 1973 in what looked like women’s clothing!