Clay beads date as far back as 1000 BC in various regions across the world. In Africa, clay beads were used as trade beads in countries such as Ghana and Mali. Clay beads were mainly adorned by the poor due to their affordability. In contrast to the rare precious stones and metals that the rich could wear, clay was available in abundance. Clay beads were traditionally used in prayer strands as well as in amulets as jewelry. The beads were typically designed with large holes that could accommodate leather thongs as strands. Today, some nations prize their clay bead heritage so much that they prohibit their export.