Category Archives: Krobo Beads

Recycled Beads

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.

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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 – Kimberly’s Blessings

Photos courtesy of Kimberly Standiford – Kimberly’s Blessings

Strands contain Ghana Beads, White Hearts, Batik Bone Beads, Kakamba Beads, Krobo Beads, Padre Beads, Russian Blue Beads, and Many More.

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

User Gallery – Gogograndmothers

Photos courtesy of Jacque Entzminger – Gogograndmothers

Description:
The red bead represents AIDS, the black bead, death, and the heart is a gogo caring for orphaned children. The three sand cast beads represent three orphans a typical gogo cares for. The cross symbolizes the love of Jesus for the gogos and orphaned children. The green beads represent a gogo’s garden and yellow bead, the maize she grows. The “O” (for orphan) bead represents the village Early Childhood Development Centers where trained caregivers feed and educate vulnerable children. The clay bead symbolizes the handmade bricks used to build homes and an ECDC center. The silver beads represent our prayers and love for one another.

Gogograndmothers is a non-profit ministry of SAFE-Africa. We provide food security, educational opportunity and spiritual hope to a village gogo and the orphans in her care through sponsorships ($30/month) and fundraising. The story bracelet is one of the things we sell to spread the word and raise funds. More information about our ministry can be found at Gogograndmothers.com.

Strands contain Krobo Beads, White Hearts, Silver Beads, Bicone Beads, and Kakamba Beads

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.

How Glass Beads are Made

How to Craft Glass Beads

  1. First, wash the bottles and other glass items to be used, and then sort by color. Break these down into small fragments to be used for the translucent ones. Alternatively, pound them with a metal mortar and pestle, and then sieve to obtain a very fine powder to make the powder glass ones. Use ceramic dyes to create different colored glass powder.
  2. Next, place the powder in clay bead moulds coated with kaolin to prevent the fused glass from sticking to the surface. Put cassava stalks into the moulds containing colored glass powder. These stalks will burn during the fusion and leave holes to allow for threading.
  3. Cook the beads in a traditional kiln made from termite clay. Translucent ones cook for 35-45 minutes at 850-1000 deg. Celsius; while powder glass ones cook for 20-30 minutes at 650-850 deg. Celsius. Cook the painted ones twice – the second time in order to fix the paste of colored glass powder used to decorate them.
  4. Once the translucent ones are removed from the kiln, make a center hole using an awl. One awl will maintain the mould in place, while the other will turn the bead around in the mould to shape it. In the meantime, the fused glass will slowly harden at room temperature.
  5. Leave the beads to slowly cool in the moulds for about one hour to prevent them from cracking. Take them out of the mould, and then wash and polish them by vigorously rubbing them with sand and water on a smooth stone surface.

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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.