Trade beads on CNN?

April 6, 2010

As seen on CNN:

There was a really neat story on CNN the other day about how traditional beads are making a comeback in Ghana (West Africa).


There were several interesting points made by Ghanaians interviewed in the story.

• Wearing beads is seen as enhancing one’s femininity.

• The Ghanaian bead industry is a good example of recycling. It turns soft-drink bottles into wearable art! (Learn about more recycled glass beads.)

• Each bead color has a traditional meaning: gold for wealth, blue for purity, and more.

Rings & Things’ confessed bead addict / owner, Russ Nobbs, had a few observations about the story:

“Many of the Ashanti powder glass beads we carry in the ‘African and trade bead‘ category are the sort shown in the video.

“The multicolored beads shown in the video include a lot of ‘writing method’ beads where plain beads are decorated with ceramic colorants to resemble old European and African beads. This technique has expanded in both quality and variety in recent years.

Powder glass beads are often referred to as ‘sand beads’ although they are not made from sand. Instead, they are made from crushed and powdered glass fused or sintered into beads. The powder glass industry is an important source of income for this area of Ghana.”

You’ll find plenty of glass African and trade beads in Rings & Things’ online store, as well as at our popular BeadTour bead shows. You may also enjoy our offerings of metal and natural-material beads from Africa!

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  • Reply Goldie April 6, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Hey Dave, how do you think these trade beads would hold up in an outdoor project?

  • Reply Dave Robertson April 6, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Hi Goldie, do you mean something like an outdoor art installation, as opposed to jewelry?


  • Reply Goldie April 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Yes – I’m making plant hangers & would like something bright & shiny that would hold up in the weather.

  • Reply Dave Robertson April 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Goldie! I got this opinion from Susan (@hpycamper57) on Twitter:

    “I would use a non-yellowing varnish-either matte or shiny on the trade beads”

    Cheers 🙂


  • Reply Goldie April 7, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks Dave!

  • Reply maneki April 12, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Just had to mention that R&T have some especially pretty recycled glass beads, namely the flower-cup beads. I bought a strand in dark blue — not my favourite colour to work with, but I couldn’t resist buying them as they reminded me of bluebells.

    They’re more uneven than pressed-glass or lampwork beads, but I think that just adds to the charm.

  • Reply Dave Robertson April 13, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    It’s fun to type the words recycled bead into the search box in our online store…and browse and browse…

    🙂 Dave

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