Category Archives: Heishi Beads

About Heishi Beads

Heishi beads have a fascinating origin which is linked to the ancient history of the Santo Domingo and San Felipe Pueblo Indians who were most proficient in the crafting of these beads. Experts regard Heishi beads as the oldest form of jewelry in New Mexico and North America, as they pre-date to the period before the introduction of metals. The “heishi” in heishi beads literally means “shell”, with particular reference to the pieces of shell which are drilled and ground into the beads and then strung into necklaces. Today, however, heishi has come to refer to tiny beads made by hand out of any naturally occurring material.

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User Gallery – Bears Beads and Chains

 

Photos courtesy of Claudia Hogue and Shari Burton – Bears Beads and Chains

Strands contain Brass Bicone Beads, Watermelon Beads, White Hearts, Krobo Beads, Kakamba Beads, Ghana Beads, Feather Beads, Eye Beads, Batik Bone Beads, Padre Beads, Ostrich Eggshell Beads, Snake Beads, Heishi Beads, and just about everything else!

 

Want to show off beads that you purchased from us?  No problem.  E-mail us pictures at store@rexbeads.com

User Gallery – Stones by Dolores

Updated 2/3/2012 with more pictures!

Photos courtesy of Dolores Stone – Stones by Dolores

Strands contain Coral Beads, Batik Bone Beads, Sand Cast Beads, Ghana Beads, Krobo Beads, Heishi Beads, and More!

Want to show off beads that you purchased from us?  No problem.  E-mail us pictures at store@rexbeads.com

User Gallery – The Family Jewels

Photos courtesy of Jan Goldman – The Family Jewels

Strands contain Tabular Brass Beads, Ghana Beads, Heishi Beads and Coptic Crosses.

Want to show off beads that you purchased from us?  No problem.  E-mail us pictures at store@rexbeads.com

 

User Gallery – Patrician Crafts

Photos courtesy of Patricia Hiss – Patrician Crafts – http://www.patriciancrafts.etsy.com/

Strands contain Tabular Brass Beads, Brass Heishi Beads, Brass Camaroon Beads, and Boule Brass Beads.

 

Want to show off beads that you purchased from off?  No problem.  E-mail us pictures at store@rexbeads.com

Origin of African Trade Beads

African trade beads came about as a result of the need for traders along the route between Europe and Africa for a currency to trade with the Africans. Beads fitted here as the most appropriate medium of exchange due to the affinity that African people had for various types of beads. The trade beads were therefore used for purposes of battering goods of value from the peoples of Africa such as ivory, gold, and palm oil.

The history of African trade beads dates as far back as the fifteenth century with the coming of the Portuguese. Upon arrival in West Africa, the Portuguese discovered just how important beads were to the African people. The beads they found were crafted out of various objects and materials including gold, iron, ivory, organic objects and bone. At the same time, the Portuguese discovered that the resources that the European market was desperate for were in abundance in Africa. The traders therefore decided to use glass beads as a medium in bartering for goods and raw materials with the Africans.

Glass beads were particularly singled out because glass working technology had not yet been discovered in Africa. Therefore, the African people were in awe of the exquisite beads of glass that the European traders had to offer. Because these beads were also used in bartering slaves, they were to later earn the name “slave beads” or aggry beads. Europe responded to the popularity and increased demand for African trade beads by increasing production in cities such as Venice which is today still famous for its unique and rare glass beads.

Caring for your African Beads

To clean most African beads use a small amount of Mineral Oil (found at your local grocers) on a clean cloth and rub. Not recommended for old or Antique beads as their dirt is well earned and adds to their history.

Cleaning agents such as soap are not advised.