African Glass Beads from West Africa

by African Beads on October 14, 2010

When I started this blog, I told you why I love African beads. Well, now I am going to tell you about some of the most beautiful African beads.

West Africa is home to one of Africa’s largest beading industries. Ghana is known as one of the greatest producers of ethnic and tribal beads. Some of the most popular African beads, as well as glass trade beads, originate from West Africa. Here are five of the most common examples of West African beads.

Recycled Powder Glass Beads

African recycled glass

Recycled glass beads are some of the most basic beads made in Ghana. They are made using the Powder Glass Bead method. The bead maker collects glass scrap, such as used Coca cola and beer bottles. They crush them, and use the glass to make these cool beads. For all of you environmentally conscious beaders out there, these are the beads for you!

Krobo Glass Beads

Krobo beads

Krobo beads are made using a method very much like the method used to make Ghana recycled glass beads. The difference is that these beads are much more intricate, and are very often designed using paint as well. Krobo beads are made by the famous Krobo people of West Africa, and strands usually run anywhere from $16 to $30, depending on the age and design.

Baoule Brass Beads

Bauole brass beads

Baoule are a type of brass beads made using the lost wax technique. They are made by the Baule tribe, known for their intricate methods of creating brass beads, jewelry, and pendants. The Baoule people originally descended from the Ashanti tribe in Ghana. These beads can often times be difficult to find, as their production is not consistent.

Bauxite Beads

Bauxite beads

Bauxite beads are made from Aluminum Ore. They are simple in design, but they give a certain vibe, especially when used in jewelry. Their natural look is often refreshing, when compared to other highly produced beads from West Africa.

Beads from Mali

Spindle whorl beads from Africa

Not quite up to the level of Ghana in terms of quantity of production, but Mali produces some very beautiful beads. The most sought after beads from Mali are their wedding beads, which are perhaps the most vibrant African beads on the market. They also produce some beautiful clay beads, and spindle whorl beads.

I hope you enjoy these beads. As always, I recommend shopping at The Bead Chest. They have a beautiful selection of African beads, unbelievable customer service, fast shipping…and, well, they’re just great. Here’s a tip: use coupon code 5OFFORDER during checkout to get an extra 5% off :)

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  • Chinelo Emeka

    i want to learn more on African beads its my desire to know you better Chinelo Emeka Nigeria kaduna 

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