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About Our Beads

Our Beads

Our beads are hand made in Krobo region in Ghana West Africa. Each of our bead designs are unique and one of a kind. We encourage you if you like the design to purchase it emmediately, as we can not guarantee that we'll ever see that design again. Our prices are extremely competitive and we do not extend any further wholesale discounts, yet our customers do not complain as our prices are simply outstanding. This is a result of our stellar logistics team combined with years of import/export experience.

The Adangme people of Krobo may be the most famous and skilled bead-makers in Africa, in part because beads play such an important part in their society - in rituals of birth, coming of age, marriage, and death. Afrodesign represents beads from Nomoda E Djaba, whose family have made beads for generations.
This is what is often used as a source of glass poweder.


Hot flame of a 1000 year old process

Djaba's workshop, Cedi Beads, is located between the towns of Odumase and Sumanya in the idyllic Krobo region. The hills of Krobo have traditionally provided great resources to the local people, who are renowned farmers - especially of palm oil and cocoa - as well as craftspeople. We are proud to be working with Djaba, whose Cedi Beads workshop is a fine example of entrepreneurship and innovation mixed with tradition. Djaba's artisans make use of scrap glass, which is ground into fine powder as it has been for centuries.
The glass powder is then carefully formed into patterns and placed into hand-made clay molds covered in kaolin. The beads are fired, further decorated, washed, and strung. Djaba has recently introduced new techniques and even imports glass rods from Venice to produce new types of blown glass products. The beads we carry, however, all represent long traditions of production. We do not interfere in either the design of the beads or the patterns in which they are strung, as each string is meaningful to the artisan, as you will see from the listings in the Gallery.

Get 'em while they hot

Florence Martey of TK Beads

Nomoda Ebenezer Djaba of Cedi Beads


Sand Cast Beads

There are a number different ways of making beads from glass. The three principle methods are described in this chapter. Beads can be made

1) by winding molten glass to form a bead (Wound); or
2) by drawing molten glass to form a long thin tube, which can then be cut into many beads, (Drawn); or
3) by placing glass in moulds and heating in a kiln until it fuses together (Fused).
There are two variations on these techniques: first, with mould pressed beads, the molten glass is forced into a mould to give beads a certain shape, and to speed up the process of producing beads; second, mosaic beads are made by fusing slices of drawn canes to a wound or drax,?n?glass body. One can also blow molten gJass to make beads, but such beads are fragile, and rarely survive for archaeologists to find, so this method is not dealt with here.

The method of making beads in Ghana is described here in the most detail, as this method is only to be found in Ghana and Mauritania: in all other places beads are made by working with molten glass. Contemporary methods of making beads are described, with illustrations, and two historical accounts of bead making are reprinted for comparison.

Watch the movie where Nomoda E Djaba shows you how the real Krobo trading beads are made.

DSL/Cable speed Video
Medium speed Video
Dial Up speed Video
All movies are in Microsoft Media Player Format.
More info.? Please e-mail us with any questions at sales@afrodesign.com


Glass Beads

Wound beads are produced by winding a hot and molten rod of glass or strand drawn from molten glass around a metal wire called a mandrel. The bead maker sits in front of the heat source, typically a flame, heating the glass and winding the bead. Therefore these beads are also referred to as lamp?wound beads. While still soft, the beads might be decorated with any of a myriad of inlays or appliqu6s, and the variety of decorations is infinite. The most elaborately decorated wound beads are known as fancy beads. Sometimes wound beads may be pressed with metal paddles or tongs to produce a uniform shape. In West Africa we most often see squared or flattened wound beads. The surface of wound beads usually exhibits swirl marks that encircle the axis, an imaginary line passing through the centre of the perforation . Bubbles in the glass are either round or elongated and oriented like the swirl marks.

Unlike drawn beads, wound beads are made individually, and often not in a factory setting, but rather by piecework in people's houses. This was often women's work, and as with other "cottage" industries the pay was by completed bead. The amount of work to make these beads is considerable, and such fancy wound beads are not made in commercial quantifies.

Watch the movie where Nomoda E Djaba shows you how the real Krobo trading beads are made.

DSL/Cable speed Video
Medium speed Video
Dial Up speed Video
All movies are in Microsoft Media Player Format.

More info.? Please e-mail us with any questions at sales@afrodesign.com


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