With their origin in France, French glass beads were historically used in African trade during the 19th century, mainly in African countries such as present day Ghana.
What made French glass beads such a popular currency amongst the African and European traders was the fact that these beads were inexpensive, portable and more importantly they had high intrinsic value for the Africans. Today,
French glass beads are used to create beautiful necklaces using, say, a handful of old mustard yellow beads which are strung on raffia, bead to bead. The necklace may then be used to showcase an equally exquisite handmade brass pendant as its focal point.
Beads from Ghana can be worn around the neck, as bracelets or even as a part of your clothing. When worn around the waist, beads can greatly accentuate your figure. They may also be used to accentuate your home’s interior décor accessories such as paintings, wall hangings and table napkins.
Sand cast beads are also referred to as powdered glass beads and feature glass beads crafted by hand. These beads were popularly used as currency during trade in West African countries such as Ghana.
These beads are made in a process where bead makers grind up bottles or other scrap glass to produce recycled beads. These are then fired in clay molds at a relatively low temperature in order to give the beads texture.
Sand cast beads are available in beautiful colors such as blue and may be strung bead to bead to produce beautiful strands on raffia.
Many popular Ghana beads date back over one hundred years, having been retrieved from ancient burial grounds. However, if the idea of wearing those from a burial ground does not sit well with you, you may opt for Krobo beads which are produced from other recycled materials such as glass bottles.
There are 3 main types of Krobo glass beads: powder glass, translucent and painted glass beads. Krobo beads are ideal for the environmentally conscious shopper who wishes to leave less of a carbon footprint, while still appearing elegant.
Found in Mali, old Tuareg amulet beads are handmade glass beads also referred to as Talhakimts. Mainly worn as hair ornaments, the old Tuareg amulet beads were typical features at Tuareg weddings during which the bride received the geometric beads, which she was required to wear as a sign of her marital status.
Amulet beads were cherished heirlooms among the Tuareg people, as well as serving as everyday accessories to the flowing cloth of both men and women.
Modern variations of the old Tuareg amulet beads are produced in the same tradition and feature structurally bold geometric pieces reminiscent of the Moorish architecture.