Posted 10 years ago
Very fine necklace composed of finely crafted palm nut shell beads, with 1880s British yellow thermal plastic beads often and mistakenly referred to as amber, silver beads from Ethiopia, but of Yemeni origin, with teardrop shape dundun sule (wedding beads) from the Fulani of Mali.
These elements may be gender, age or status specific. They may reflect the marital status of and individual, the stage of ones’ life, the birth of a child (boy or girl) or membership in a secret society. The materials may be indigenous or trade. In either case they are utilized in the most traditional manner.
It is worth noting that many of the materials used for adornment on the Afrikan continent are there by way of trade. Therefore it is not uncommon to find silver jewelry in North/Northeast Afrika to have originated in Yemen, in East Afrika from India, and in the entirety of Afrika from Europe. The term trade beads encompasses beads that are indigenous as well as beads traded on the continent from other parts of the world. The most familiar grouping and largest quantity of trade beads from outside of the continent, originated in Italy. The Czechs also supplied a fair number of beads for trade. Although some of the most desired beads are cobalt blue, and referred to as Russian blues, the Russians had no bead making industry. However, these and the white hearts (red with white center) were traded in North America by the Hudson Bay Trading Company.