Naturally occurring cinnabar is a brick-red coloured mercury sulphide formed near alkaline hot springs after volcanic activity.
Historically, this bright red pigment was popular amongst artisans and craftsmen, would carve the mineral into intricate jewellery adornments or grind it into powder to use as clothing dye.
Cinnabar was a favoured throughout Ancient Greece and across China although archaeological evidence dates its use as far back as the Neolithic age.
Unbeknown to the noble men & women who wore it, Cinnabar's high mercury content made it deadly to those who wore it. Luckily, with the foresight of modern science, we now understand Mercury to be highly toxic, meaning that use of real cinnabar would be extremely dangerous. Modern jewellery makers will be pleased to know that traditional Cinnabar has been replaced with a resin-based alternative.
These Cinnabar Style beads give the appearance of this traditional mineral, without the risk of poisoning :)