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African trade imitation Amber beads from 1920's-1940's

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Bakelite and other early plast…9 of 65Bakelite teardrop necklace in spring green swirl colors  German bakelite panel bracelet
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    Posted 2 years ago

    (283 items)

    I want to share with you these fantastic imitation Amber beads of Phenolic Resin ("cousin" of bakelite) for the African trade.

    I bought these beads at an online auction a few years ago. They were sold as a lot under "antique craft category" and not jewelry and the person who sold the beads didn't know what it was. Neither did I at the time but to me it was wonderful beads that looked a bit like bakelite. I think I was the only one who placed a bid. Payed about 29 euro. After I had bought them I found short information online about trade beads from Africa. They looked like the beads I had just bought. Had a nice emailconversation with the seller. I knew she had got the beads as a gift from a distant older aunt and I asked more about the aunt. It turned out she had travelled a lot, more than once to Mauritania.

    Later I red an interesting article about these beads by Rosana Falabella. It showed photos of beads very much like mine. Mauritania was one of the country mentioned. I found from the article that little is known of the sources that manufactured the beads and the time frame. But the material was used in Europe to imitate amber and the beads ended up in the African trade where they were modifyed and changed by craftsmen. The first beads were made early to mid 1920's. Farabella has a very investigative and interesting way of showing what conclusions can be drawn. I recommend you read it if you are a beadlover like me.

    I will make my beads into a necklace one day. I just keep them on this piece of cord for now.
    The 23 beads way 337 grams together. Two of the beads are diamond shaped with cross-drilled holes as does one of the round beads which allows for the bead to be worn flat. The largest bead is 4 cm x 2,8 cm. All the beads have a fantastic smoth surface due to being handled and worn and aged. The variation of color, shape and form makes these beads fantastic in my eyes.

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    1. Ms.CrystalShip Ms.CrystalShip, 2 years ago
      I told you how much I love crystal/ glass beads. But these are very special!
      Not only are they old and beautiful, they have stood the test of time, aging gracefully, so to speak. The ambers/earth tones appeal to me, always have. I bet Mary would agree, these resin beads, that are nearly a century old, are just lovely and will make a beautiful necklace!
    2. Elisabethan Elisabethan, 2 years ago
      Ms.ChrystalShip thank you for kind words and showing an interest in my post. Mary has seen this a long time ago in a mail from me. We talked about how to make a nice necklace of it my adding other types of beads. She would probably already have made it into a necklace while I need another year to think about it, how to design it :)
      I also like amber colors. They are soft and warm at the same time.
    3. Elisabethan Elisabethan, 2 years ago
      Thank you Vetraio, Aura and Newfld also!
    4. valentino97 valentino97, 2 years ago
      Thanks for sharing your wonderful research and the link you sent me. SO lovely!! These are yummy shapes and colors :-)
    5. Elisabethan Elisabethan, 2 years ago
      Thank you Val. You are welcome ofcourse I share the research :)
    6. Mrstyndall Mrstyndall, 2 years ago
      Very nice!
    7. Elisabethan Elisabethan, 2 years ago
      Thank you Mrstyndall for your nice coment!
    8. Elisabethan Elisabethan, 2 years ago
      Thanks for loving my post guys!
    9. vintagelamp vintagelamp, 2 years ago
      Another favorite time period...1920s!
    10. Elisabethan Elisabethan, 2 years ago
      Thank you and I agree vintagelamp :)
    11. plein-air-painter plein-air-painter, 2 years ago
      Loved reading about your research. So interesting. Nice your seller was able to give you some history to go on.
    12. Elisabethan Elisabethan, 2 years ago
      Plein-Air-Painter thank you, I am glad you found it interesting. Yes eventhough she didn't know anything about the necklace she could help me by knowing and telling me about her relative :)
    13. Elisabethan Elisabethan, 2 years ago
      Thank you fellow CW:s for loving my post!

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