They didn’t call it the “Summer of Love” for nothing. If there was one concept the peace-loving counter culture of the 60s embraced more than any other it was the genuine love they felt for their fellow man. And what better way to express this affection than through a set of love beads, man. Can you dig it?
Love beads came in all sizes and shapes. They could be long or short strands, big or little beads, simple and unassuming or painstakingly crafted. It mattered little what they looked like. What mattered was the message they carried, that of brotherly love and acceptance, and like the friendship bracelets that would become popularized in future decades, they were often traded or even given away to a bead-less fellow in need of a little love offering. Here’s some video of Janis Joplin proudly displaying hers.
Sure, you could adorn yourself with the bell-bottoms and suede fringed vest. You could wear your hair long and scraggly and bear your naked chest with the best of them. But if you were without a set of love beads, you weren’t a true hippie and you certainly weren’t worthy of shacking up with your fellow brethren in the muddy fields of Woodstock or the communal houses of Haight-Ashbury. As The Beatles so wisely proclaimed at the time, “All you need is love” but perhaps what they really meant is “All you need is love beads.”
If you were proudly adorned with a few strings of Love Beads back in the day, or if you still wear them when the mood strikes, we welcome your recollections of this 60s fashion statement in our comments section.