Welcome

This blog is dedicated to African Beads – about them, where they come from, how they are made, and the regions they come from.

This blog is an expansion of our web-store, Rex’s African Bead Shop (rexbeads.com).  If you are interested in purchasing any of the products mentioned here, please visit our store.

Thank You, and enjoy your stay.

About African ‘Tomato’ Beads

 

Tomato beads are a type of seed bead that was commonly used during the African slave trade in past centuries.

Originating from Venice where they were manufactured, tomato beads are large and slightly translucent. They have an irregular rounded shape and may appear in brilliant shades of red and yellow.

Largely traded in Ethiopia, tomato beads get their name from their tomato-like shape and served as one of the earliest forms of trade currency in this region.

A high intrinsic value was placed on tomato beads as the people of this region, just as everywhere else in Africa, truly valued decorative items such as beads.

Click here to shop African Tomato Beads

About Lapis Lazuli Beads

Some wearers of lapis lazuli beads wear them in the belief that the beads will protect them from evil, keep the father in the household safe, as well as attract good fortune.

These beads are also believed to bring inner piece, tranquility and happiness, while heightening clarity, concentration and instincts of the wearer.

Even if you are not a believer yourself, you may nevertheless enjoy the beauty of lapis lazuli beads which make great looking jewelry items.

The beads are available in various attractive sizes and shapes including the top drilled skinny beads, round beads, small chip beads and tear drops which are great for making earrings.

Click here to Shop Lapis Lazuli Beads

About AJA Beads

Aja beads were historically made in Venice in the early 20th century, from drawn glass tubes which were cooled and cut into small slices. Once cut, the slices of drawn cane were thereafter exposed to heat until the glass softened or slumped. This caused the beads to flatten and their hard cut edges to soften and become rounded.

Experts speculate that the process of slumping was in actual fact carried out in Africa as there is no evidence of the slumped slices ever being sold in Venice.

Aja beads range in size, color and canes with the most spectacular being crafted from Rosetta or chevron cane. These beautiful and somewhat unusual beads are today used to craft exquisite jewelry pieces such as those featuring 4-layer “yellow jacket” slices.

Click to Shop AJA Beads

About Talisman Beads

Talisman beads come in attractive colors and are commonly used to make talisman necklaces and bracelets.

Talisman beads are believed to carry special traits which could increase the wearer’s good luck, give them courage, strength, speed and even increase their skills in diplomacy. Talisman beads are also believed to be able to stand in for you when bad luck seems to be headed your way, in some instances with the bad luck collecting in your amulet or bracelet, instead of in your person.

Traditionally, the amulet or bracelet may then be disposed of at a sacred place once filled with bad luck. However, talisman beads are increasingly popular even among those who simply value them for the exquisite attractive jewelry pieces they create.

Click to Shop Talisman Beads

About Venetian Beads

Venetian beads are made using a bead making technique which originated in Venice during the late nineteenth century and were historically used as trading currency in Africa.

Today, antique Venetian beads are prized by bead collectors around the world due to their rarity. Venetian beads are renowned for their very high level of craftsmanship and the fact that every bead is made by hand, which makes each individual bead unique.

Venetian beads are also recognized for their distinctive floral appearance, as well as their beauty, intricate designs and vivid colors which make them ideal choices for creating the most exquisite of jewelry items.

Click to Shop Venetian Beads

About Dutch Dogon Beads

Dutch Dogon beads are large wound glass beads which get their name from the fact that they were made by Dutch people in the Netherlands and later became popular with the Dogon people of Mali who couldn’t resist their exquisite beauty. Believed to date back as far as the 17th century, these beads were often used in Dutch villages to make garden mosaics, instead of having flowers in the formal gardens during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. This was before they found their way to the shores of West Africa to make jewelry for the Dogon people. Popular colors for Dutch Dogon beads are most often blue but can also be back black, white or brown.

Click here to Shop Dutch Dogon Beads

About Button Beads

Button beads are small glass beads which resemble modern buttons, although they do not have a group of central holes. These beads date back to the Etruscan period and the time of the Roman Empire, but later found their way to Syria and Egypt. Button beads are generally very beautiful and boast artistic workmanship. Today as in the past, button beads are used to make exquisite necklaces using these beads entirely, some of which may be cemented together two and two in order to form a single bead. Button beads take on various shapes including circular, flat, oval, plane, convex or convex-concave shapes.

Click here to Shop Button Beads

About Kiffa Beads

Kiffa beads are rare powder glass beads which acquired their name from Kiffa, a city in Mauritania where they were first documented by French ethnologist R. Mauny in 1949. Kiffa beads represent one of the highest levels of bead making skill, artistry and ingenuity due to the fact that they were created using the simplest tools and materials available, and in open fires. These materials included pulverized European glass beads or their fragments, bottle glass, tin cans, pottery shards, steel needles and some gum Arabic. Decorations for the beads were made from the glass slurry – the crushed glass mixed with a binder and then applied using a pointed tool such as a steel needle. The beads were then placed in small containers such as sardine cans and thereafter heated to fuse them in an open fire, without the need for molds.

Click to Shop Kiffa Beads

About African Skunk Beads

Skunk beads are beautiful wound and decorated African trade beads which create great strands of jewelry items. Originally made in Venice, these beads were commonly used for trading purposes in Africa during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Skunk beads are a must have for every collector worth their salt and today grace many private collections around the world. Because of the increasing popularity of skunk beads amongst bead lovers today, African bead traders now have to go deeper into Africa to find more of these skunk beads which are becoming rarer with each passing decade – which of course makes them even more collectable.

Click here to Shop Skunk Beads