African Trade Bead Bracelet

Jeanette Bracelet

One category of beads I enjoy working with is African Trade Beads.  I find them to be absolutely beautiful, even those that may be distressed, chipped, or have suffered a little minor damage in their journey through the world.  Recently, the idea came to me to make a bracelet using the rust-colored circles you see above.  I pulled them out and then realized they would look perfect interspersed with some of the African Trade Beads in my collection.  I chose the exact placement of each bead to achieve the color balance I wanted and felt the only thing that would honor them was handmade chain.  I created each link from brass wire, darkened them, and connected them one by one.  I think the rustic-ness of the handmade chain complements these beads far better than the shiny perfection of a machine-made chain.

Some of the beads used in the bracelet include Venetian “French Cross”, Venetian Chevrons, and Venetian Millefiories.   There are many sources for African Trade Beads and one I’ve used for years is Picard Beads, they are experts in African Trade Beads.  Picard has a Trade Bead Museum and African Art Gallery in Carmel, CA and they have authored a number of publications on these beads.  I would love, love to visit the museum and whenever I visit their website, I am so tempted…

I won’t attempt to explain the history of these beads.  There are others far more qualified than me.  I do hope to convey my love of these beads and help you see their beauty.  Because of the age of some of the beads, they can be rare and therefore expensive, however they are worth learning more about and investing in.

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6 Responses to African Trade Bead Bracelet

  1. Pingback: My Beads Club. | WHOLESALE JEWELRY

  2. Pingback: Priscilla Bead Work Book – Victorian Beaded Purses, Jewelry, & More! | WHOLESALE JEWELRY

  3. I’m the lucky purchaser of this wonderful bracelet! I am so delighted with my purchase, Charlene! Your craftsmanship is amazing and I am so excited that we found each other. This is a treasured piece in my collection and I love showing it off. Thank you so much for sharing your gifts.

  4. Donna Maria,

    I am glad you are pleased with it. It is an original and I will not be making another. Enjoy!

  5. Beadwork says:

    How do your beading party workshops compare to a Lia Sophia or Silpada party? This “party” is very different. It is a combination of learning and fun! It is a hands-on workshop where each attendee makes their own jewelry while learning some great techniques and beading skills so they can continue making jewelry on their own after the event.

  6. thebeaddreamer says:

    Dear Beadwork,

    My parties are online events where I sell jewelry similar to having a Tupperware or other type of home party – it’s just online instead of at someone’s home. The host or hostess organizes the party and receives benefits from the sales during the party. My parties have also been used as fund raisers.

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