African trade beads were made and traded beginning in the 1800’s, continuing on into the early 1900’s. This practice of trading glass beads for other good and services began when European traders found locals bartering with shells. As a result, a predominant number of the beads were traded by Venetians. Typical trade beads seen are glass chevron, white heart and millefiori.
Many of the African beads we have at Beads Etc. are nearly a century old. To hold them is to wonder how many hands they have passed through and what purpose they may have served.
Please contact us if you would like a price on anything you find of interest, or ask us if you have specific needs.
Mali Wedding Beads are a collection of multi-colored beads that are made of bulbous glass beads from Bohemia. They were once of great significance because their shape resembled a woman’s form. These necklaces were traditionally given to daughters on the eve of their wedding.
Colorful Beaded Baskets from the Yoruba Tribe
The people of Cameroon lay claim to some of the finest artwork crafted in Africa. The craftsman’s task was to visually preserve tribal lore and history, as well as pay tribute to royalty and ancestors alike. The creation of special seating was very important in Cameroonian culture. Beaded chairs and thrones were commissioned for use only by members of the royal court.