Becaming a Man, The Satere-Mawe Way

Share our Story

Satere-Mawe Videosatere-maue-hp1

Hello everyone again. Caramuru here and as promised, here is great little article on the boys in our tribe and their trip to manhood. Don’t miss the video in the end.

Negotiating the transition from boy to man can be a tricky time in a guys life. The liminal period of maturation, known to scientists as puberty and to everyone else as hell, wages hormonal warfare on both the body and the mind. Limbs grow gangly and uncontrollable, skin breaks out, voices begin to scratch and squeak at all the wrong times (usually when talking to a girl), and both body odor and hair begin to appear in strange and sometimes unwanted places.

It’s just like bungee jumping. Except with vines. Credit: The Telegraph

 Surviving that period of time should be more than enough to for a boy to be able to declare himself a man. But for some reason, in the most of the world, it’s not. In most cultures around the world boys must negotiate risky, dangerous, and often potentially life-threatening rites of passage in order to achieve manhood.

On Pentecost Island in the South Pacific they tie vines to their ankles and leap headfirst from wooden towers; among the Maasai of East Africa, boys make the transition to manhood by being circumcised with a sharp rock as teenagers; and in the highlands of New Guinea, a secret society determines when Sambia boys become men: a multi-year seven step process that culminates in the boy fathering his first child. These are dangerous, intricate rituals practiced for generations, but none are quite so painful, nor quite so seemingly masochistic as the Satere-Mawe’s bullet-ant glove.

The Satere-Mawe

The Satere-Mawe are an indigenous group who live deep in the Brazilian Amazon. For many years they were most well known for their great contribution to keeping students and teenagers awake all-night in a hyper-caffienated buzz: the Satere-Mawe were the first to domesticate the plant guarana, a stimulant found in energy drinks. But courtesy of YouTube they’ve been gaining fame for another reason – their painful initiation rituals.


But before we get into that, I’d like you to meet Dr Justin Schmidt.

Schmidt is an American entomologist and an expert in honey bee ecology, communication and behaviour.

But that’s not his greatest to contribution to science (although it’s pretty great). Over the course of his career, he’s spent a lot of time being bitten, stung, and envenomated by insects – an occupational hazard of the entomologist. Unlike most of us, who would curse a little and carry on (or change jobs), Schmidt played the good scientist and began to take notes on the experience.


After years of accidental, and painful, ‘research’, Schmidt eventually published two papers detailing the stings of 78 species of Hymenoptera (ants, wasps, bees, and sawflies). He reported both the immediate pain of the sting on a scale of 1-4, and the duration of the pain. Fire ants are level one, honey bees are level two. There are only three level fours: the warrior wasp, the tarantula hawk, and the bullet ant (Paraponera clavata).

Bullet ants, like aye-ayes and bilbies, are the only living members of their genuses. The bullet ant is between half-an-inch and an inch in length and looks like a black, wingless wasp. It lives in nests at the base of trees, and forages in the leaves overhead for small insects or arthropods, supplementing its diet with nectar. They range from Nicaragua to Paraguay, and have a number of colloquial names throughout their habitat, but one is common across all the countries the ant inhabits: the 24-hour ant. When agitated, the bullet ant stings, injecting venom into its unfortunate harasser. The venom contains a potent neurotoxin, poneratoxin, which blocks synaptic transmission at the injection site – fancy science for saying it freezes the transmission of information by nerve cells, causing paralysis. It also causes pain. “Waves of throbbing, burning pain which continues unabated for 24 hours.” Hence the name. Luckily, you’re not likely to stumble across one unless your an entomologist (or a primatologist) – or a Satere-Mawe boy.

  RITUAL DA TUCANDEIRA INDIOS SATERE MAWE AMAZONAS Becoming a Satere-Mawe man involves getting up close and personal with the bullet ant. At the time of initiation, the group will locate a bullet ant nest and waft smoke over it to knock out the ants. The unconscious ants are collected, and carefully – I’m guessing very carefully – woven into a glove made of the leaves. The end result is a leafy green iron maiden. Shaped like an oven-mitt on the outside, the ants are embedded within the leaves with their stingers facing inwards. The man-to-be then slips the glove on, and must keep it on for ten minutes. At the end of ten minutes the glove is removed, although generally not by the boy, who is usually busy being paralysed and/or convulsing. The boy will generally recover within a week – but the ritual can be fatal. Unfortunately, even for the survivors, once is not enough to prove you are a man. The boys will have to repeat the process many times over months, or even years, before becoming accepted as a man in Satere-Mawe culture.

Meet the insect with the world’s most painful sting.



It’s difficult, if not impossible, to draw conclusions about human behavior that extend accurately across all cultures. There is just too much diversity – a level of diversity and adaptability that make us unique as a species. But rites of passage are a virtual constant around the world, particularly for boys. It’s difficult to know why, but the most commonly posited reason is that boys lack an obvious physical change signalling their sexually maturation (as compared to girls, where in many cultures menarche is the line that demarcates girlhood from womanhood). Because there’s no obvious physical process, all around the world humans have come up with bizarre and dangerous ways for boys to prove that they are men. Whether its sticking your hand in a glove made of ants, bungee-jumping from vines, or being circumcised with a rock, we will go to ridiculous lengths to assert our masculinity.

And we wonder why women roll their eyes at us.

Text by Neil Griffin / Pictures by Local Newspapper “A Critica Manaus”

Click here to watch a great video of the Satere-Mawe Initiation!


Native Amazonian Mask

Native Amazonian Mask

Share our Story

Who am I?

Share our Story

Who am I?

Native Amazonian Mask

Native Amazonian Mask

                                                                                                            My name is Caramuru (pronounced Kaira moo roo).
I have traveled from my Jungle to the United States in order to tell my history and stories from the place I was born.
I am an iconic fella, born in the jungles of The Amazon. I was just a thought in my creator’s imagination until he brought me to life through his hands and with gifts from nature.
I am very grateful for all that!
I am very famous now and have many brothers and sisters living throughout the world.  I just received news that some of my brothers and sisters are hanging out in Europe. How cool is that?!
I am a very complex being. My core is made from wood, that has been carved by amazing native hands. My red eyes are like fire and are from Tento seeds. My face is adorned with more Tento seeds, Acai seeds and fish bones.
What about my head adornment! They are fish scales from the largest Amazonian fish called “Arapaima gigas”, the famous Pirarucu of The Amazon. The natives in my jungle have been catching them for thousands of years and the meat tastes wonderful.  Did you know you can use the scales to file your finger nails?
And then, he found me some flowing hair that is a fiber from our local palm trees. The natural gold color shines in the Amazon Sunrise and is very strong when braided. I like it so very much! It makes me look so regal.
Well, since I do like to talk, I could not have gotten better teeth the those from a “Piranha” fish. Yeah, a real Piranha.  That in itself is a long story, but don’t they look great?
Like I said, I am a true Amazonian and have lots to talk about. If you have questions about me or my life’s path or my friends in the Amazon, drop me a line. I love to talk and will be happy to share some curiosities and real facts from my jungle. There’s so much I want to tell, I will be so busy preparing for my next letter.
Keep an eye on my page, “Caramuru’s Corner” with real stories from the Amazon Jungle! Next, I will tell about my friends from the tribe “SATERÊ-MAWÉ”. (pronounced Sah té ré mah wé)
Tchau…(Amazonian for Good Bye)

Share our Story

Bombona: Tagua’s Spunky Cousin

Share our Story

Bombona also known as Pambil, comes from the Iriartea palms in South and Central America. A cousin to Tagua, Pambil seeds also come from palm trees in the rain-forests of Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Columbia. In fact, native tribes of the Amazon basin manufacture lances, bows and even blowpipes from pambil.


You can also eat the palm heart of this species. The palm heart is the soft section at the bottom of a new leaf. The fruit of this species feeds many animal species which contributes to spread the seeds. Furthermore, Bombona harvesting is a source of industry for the many of the indigenous people of South America, providing a source of income for many families.













Like Tagua nuts but smaller, Bombona resemble brains, with color and texture variations that add visual interest and depth, especially when dyed. Additionally, Bombona or Pambil are super light weight, despite how dense they appear.

One of the most interesting features of this seed bead is it’s unique texture and shape. In fact, no two beads are exactly alike, as each seed displays subtle variations in size, texture, and color, creating pieces as unique as the wearer.


Hot Pink Bombona BeadsNatural White Bombona Beads








These beads are great for statement necklaces that show your beauty and “brains.” Not to mention the ecological savvy that comes from knowing where your jewelry comes from and how it’s made. So, be bold, be different, ‘bead’ you!

Pachiuba necklace


Share our Story

Edgy Rocker Style

Share our Story

With leather on-trend for fall, and the rocker inspired styles in magazines and fashion blogs around the world, edgy is IN! Even pregnant Fergie is embracing the rock and roll trend. At Nature Beads we’re feeling the edge and getting ready for fall with beads and leather straps and cords to compliment this hot trend.

rocker boots

EXCLUSIVE: A pregnant Fergie hasn't lost her fashion sense as she and her husband, Josh Duhamel are spotted in LA









Get the Look

We’re gathering our Finbay leather straps in 10, 16, and 20mm so that you can create your own custom leather cuffs and even belts. These are some of our favorite leathers and leather closures.

20mm Bloomed leather strap Cranberry20mm caramel crossCopper magnetic clasp


















More Cool Ideas

You might also like to make yourself a cool handbag or necklace. If you’re feeling particularly edgy and ready to experiment with the rocker trend, we’ve got you covered with fish leather, skull beads, and chains to customize your rock and roll look.

Hot Pink Fish Leather GlossyBarbed wire chainMagnesite-turquoise skull beads





Magnesite-turquoise skull beads





So there you have it! Everything you need to GET THE LOOK using the coolest natural beads and leathers from Finbay leather and Nature Beads. Rock on edgy fashionista!

Share our Story

Finbay Leather Tutorial: Making a Double or Triple Wrap Bracelet with a Buckle

Share our Story

Periodically, we post how-to’s and DIY projects on our blog, but today we are lucky to have  leather expert David Weeks of Finbay Leather giving a video tutorial on how to make a double or triple wrap leather bracelet with a buckle. From the mind that brings hand tooled leather to life, comes the first in a series of video tutorials on various jewelry design techniques. We hope you’ll enjoy making this bracelet along side our leather expert and invite you to post your finished creations on our blog or on our Facebook page.

What You’ll Need

  1. Leather Strap 10mm wide
  2. Leather Buckle Set
  3. Rivets and a Rivet Setter
  4. Sharpie or Pen
  5. Leather Punch
  6. Mallett
  7. Scissors
  8. Flat nosed pliers

The Video Tutorial



The Finished Product

Finished product081613-homesq-2


Don’t forget to share your pictures with us! We’d love to see what you created.

Share our Story

Artist: Nataly Uhryn

Share our Story

We’re always on the look out for great jewelry artists and designers and the exquisite work of Nataly Uhryn caught my eye. Nataly Uhryn is a bead embroidery artist from the Ukraine. From headbands and headpieces to necklaces ranging from intricate bibs to delicate strands, this designer’s work is divine! Needless to say we are inspired by her beautiful creations.

Nataly Uhrin 2headbandNataly Uhryn

If you’re in the mood to create after seeing these gorgeous designs we have a few ideas to help you get the look.

Get the Look

To get the look you’ll need some fabric backing to  sew or glue your beads to. We suggest using our fish leather, both for style and durability. You’ll also want  some unique gem stones. Turquoise is lovely in these designs and other gem stones and Cabochons really make these pieces unique.

Light Pink Fish LeatherDark Purple Fish Leather

Mushroom Jasper Lapidary

Mushroom Jasper Lapidary

Kingman Turquoise TriangleKingman Turquoise

And there you have it! Make your own beautiful pieces inspired by Nataly Uhryn’s designs with our supplies and your imagination. All you need is a little creativity, inspiration, and of course BEADS. From gemstones and cabochons to seed beads and leathers, the sky is the limit, so go out there and get inspired.

Share our Story

Recycled Fashion 1980′s Edition: Splatter Paint

Share our Story

Remember the days of puffy paint and bedazzlers? Remember when splatter painted jeans were all the rage and we crimped our hair? Well designers remember and they’re recycling fashion from the 1980′s with splatter paint prints that are sure to bring back memories of childhood arts and crafts. Designer J. Mendel’s collection prominently features the splatter paint print which he calls ”exploded-floral-print silk cady” and comes in five different designs including dresses and pantsuits. Stunners Abigail Spencer, Leslie Mann, and Nina Dobrev are showing us how to wear the trend right.

splatter paint designs

(L-R) Abigail Spencer, Leslie Mann, Nina Dobrev (Getty Images)

How to Wear the Trend 

If you’re not big on print, or maybe you’re afraid you’ll look like a Jackson Pollock painting, there are more subtle ways to rock this trend including the use of accessories. Two-toned leather cuffs for example provide the look of paint splatter without the head-to-toe print. Of course leather straps for cuff making are even cooler when they’re vegetable enzyme cured, chrome free, and eco-friendly.

Two toned denim blue eco-leather




Red two-toned leather strap
















If you’re looking for more elegant accessory solutions, marbled Tagua slices can provide a similar look and feel that compliments the splatter paint trend.










You can make your own beautiful Tagua nut necklace using our kit. This design was featured in BeadStyle Magazine.

Beadstyle MagazineAnd there you have it! Recycled fashion 1980′s edition, splatter paint style that anyone can wear. From eco-friendly Finbay Leather straps to marbled Tagua slices, splatter print is in, and you can get the look.

Share our Story

What’s Hot in Fashion: Leather

Share our Story

This fall leather is everywhere from dresses and skirts, to shirts and accessories. When it comes to leather anything goes.

Emma Stone

aw-faux-leather-t-shirtFor Celebrities like Emma Stone, Kanye West, Kris Jenner, Victoria Beckham, and Lady Gaga, edgy is in! One of the best ways to rock your leather is with a leather cuff bracelet, and it just so happens, we know how to make them and we’re going to teach you.


Step 1: Cut or Wrap your Leather

So, to make your leather cuff bracelet you’ll have to decide what color and width of leather you’d like. We use 16″ leather straps. These allow for two single wrap bracelets or one double wrapped bracelet. This is because 16″ straps provides you with more options. WOMEN’s wrists average 7″; MEN can usually wear an 8″ bracelet. These are some of our favorite leather straps.

Flower pattern

Blue eyelashed leather

Step 2: Glue the Leather

The next step once the leather strap is cut is to glue the ends of the straps so that your cool leather clasp adheres to the strap.

glueingWe recommend super glue for this project because super glue holds strong and dries clear.

copper magnetic clasp

Magnetic silver clasp







 Step 3: Rock your Leather Like the Star that You Are!


Share our Story

Need a Glamorous Clutch? DIY

Share our Story

Are you looking for the perfect little clutch or handbag? Tired of combing the stores for something unique and glamorous that won’t break the bank? What if you could make the perfect bag yourself? All you need is the right tools, some imagination, and the ability to sew.clutch


  • Fabric for the outside of the bag
  • Fabric for the lining
  • Metal Clasp and/or chain
  • A Rotary Cutter
  • Grid Ruler
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • metal clutch frame (etsy)
  • double sided fusible interfacing
  • Coordinating thread
  • Fabric Glue
  • Fusible Fleece

Suggested Fabric and Chains

If you like the look of the above clutch, you might like using our fish leather and chains.

chain 2chainblue fish leather






1: Start by cutting 13-by-13 1/2-inch pieces from outer fabric, lining fabric, and heavyweight fusible stabilizer. Cut a 10 1/2-by-13-inch piece of fusible fleece. Fuse heavyweight stabilizer to wrong side of outer fabric using your iron, then fuse fleece to center of stabilized side of fabric.

2: Fold right sides of outer and lining fabrics together, sew 1/2-inch seams along both 13 1/2-inch edges.

3: Turn sewn pieces so right sides are facing out, and press seams flat with your iron.

4: Fold in half, matching seams at top, with lining on inside. Sew a 1/4-inch seam on outside raw edges, then trim seam allowances to 1/8 inch and snip in at the corners. Turn again, so outside fabric is on the inside. Sew 1/4-inch seam along edges, creating a finished French seam, then turn right side out.

5: Fold the corners down; mark and sew a 2-inch gusset on each. Trim corner to 1/8 inch. Turn again so lining faces out; sew a 1/4-inch seam along gussets to finish seams. Turn the purse skin right side out.

6: Apply a bead of fabric glue to metal frame. Center over top seam, carefully insert fabric in metal frame, and secure in place with tape. Allow glue to set for several hours.

7: Remove tape, tuck outside corners behind frame, and snap closed.

8: To add a chain, you can either sew the chain directly into the lining at the corners, or you can sew in a jump ringlobster claw and use a lobster claw to adhere the chain to the ring, so that the chain is removable.

 Jump ringsFinished Product

The finished product is a cool new clutch similar to the one pictured above. With practice and patience you can create a whole new handbag wardrobe to accompany any outfit. You can customize your handbag with gems, beads, or any other embellishment you choose. The only limit is your own imagination.

Share our Story

Discovery: Art Clay Silver

Share our Story

Do you have gems and natural stones with no way to mount them?silverwater1 Are you tired of poking yourself with wire trying to wrap those gems and stones to wear them on necklaces and bracelets? Wish you could wrap those stones and gems in silver? Perhaps you should try Art Clay Silver.

What is Art Clay Silver

Art Clay Silver is a mold-able silver clay, made from silver particles, water, and organic binders. When pulled out of the package the clay is slightly wet. The clay can then be molded or pressed into a mold into any shape you choose, like polymer clay. After the clay is molded into its generic shape, the clay must be dried. Once dry the clay can be sanded and sculpted to add visual interest and detail like the design on this pendant. silver clay pendant Once sanded and sculpted, the clay must be fired, either by kiln, torch, or gas stove top. During the firing process, the binders burn away and the silver particles sinter (diffuse across particles fusing the particles together and creating one solid piece of silver). The sintering process makes the piece shrink about 10% due to the loss of binders, and the remaining piece is 99.9% pure silver. Best of all, art clay silver is non-toxic and comes from recycled metals from old circuit boards and photographic supplies, which are harvested to become art clay gold and silver.

What Kind of Gems and Stones Can I Use

Of course with this creative medium in your hands, you’ll want to set your gems and stones, but not all gems will survive the firing process without breaking or powdering. Experts suggest  that synthetic stones survive the firing process best, as do stones. Stones and Gems must have a Mohs hardness rating of 7 or greater to survive being set in the clay before firing. For more fragile substances such as glass, these items would require addition post firing. In those cases, imbedding a setting for the gem, stone, or glass before firing, will allow placement of the gem or glass piece after firing so that you can use any gems, stones, or glass pieces you want. Here are a few suggestions that would look fabulous set in silver.

 	Oval White/Turquoise Magnesite Stone beads - 19mm. Tiger Eye Puff Pilow beads, 1 holes 16mm.

Recycled Glass Irregular SMALL Triangles

For more information on art clay silver and metal clays check out their website for tips and tricks, and don’t forget to stop by our website for all your bead, stone, glass, and pendant needs.


Share our Story