African beads are made by a number of different craftsmen throughout the African continent, using various sources for their bead-making. In many cases, the bones of available animals are used, and then special patterns or designs are hand carved or dyed onto the bone beads, so they can be used for decorative purposes.
Some African bone beads are made from the bones of yaks and water buffalo, while others are actually created from snakes, chickens, and other animals that are readily available. The finished beads all look extremely appealing and striking, and each is crafted in line with traditional methods that have developed over many years within each culture.
Why Buy African Beads?
In many African cultures, beads have held a long and important cultural and historical significance, used for many purposes, ranging from cultural puberty rites, royalty wearing them as a signifier of the hierarchy, and many people across the world wearing them today in order to complete or accentuate an outfit.
There are many different tribes and nations throughout the continent, each with their own specific style of bead, steeped in years of culture and tradition. Purchasing these beads, whether directly or through an ethically sourced reseller, ensures that your funds will flow directly back to the people who put their time and dedication into creating these unique and beautiful pieces.
How to Tell if a Bead is Authentic?
The main question that many will ask when looking at beads, is how to tell if THE African beads for sale are in fact authentic. This is an important aspect to consider, as many companies that mass-produce beads mimic popular styles of authentic beads due to their visually striking styles, and unique beauty. There are a few easy to spot details that will give a cheaper bead away from the true work of a craftsman.
The first, is that the weight of the bead will be incorrect. Specifically, they will be much lighter than traditional, authentic beads are. Many manufactured beads are made from cheaper materials like plastics, and will not have the same weight to them as authentic beads, which are typically made of either bone or wood.
The next, major sign of whether the beads are authentic is or not, is the patterns and paint condition on the bead itself. Whether the design is painted on, etched in, or the bead is shaped in any way, these patterns and designs will often have minor imperfections to them. Due to the fact that each one is made by hand by skilled artisans, there will be the slightest variations from bead to bead. Mass production makes use of molds and stamps, which can guarantee the same product results from bead to bead, but also betrays their inauthentic nature. If you have a series of beads that appear to be truly identical, then it is more than likely that they are not the genuine article.
Where to Buy Authentic African Beads
The ideal place for you to purchase authentic beads would be from the craftsmen in the local village making the specific style that you are interested in. For most people, however, this is not so easily done. This is why it is instead important to look for a source that takes the time and effort to source these beads. You should also look to find a reseller that can guarantee that their beads are ethically sourced, meaning that they are using best practices to purchase their beads, and the local artisans that are producing them are not being taken advantage of.
If you are looking for authentic beads for any pieces that you are currently working on, or plan to assemble in the future, Woman Shops World has a fantastic selection of beads for you to work with. We locally source all of our beads from expert craftsmen throughout the African continent, so you can trust that the beads you are working with will have the same care and dedication put into them as the final jewelry that you are creating. Additionally, you will be able to know that they are ethically sourced, and handcrafted through methods that have been handed down across generations. For more information about the beads we have available for you, please contact us today, or take a look at our wide selection of artisan beads.