Posted 2 years ago
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.