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News / trade beads

Tambas: The Versatile Seed Bead Accessory

Tambas: The Versatile Seed Bead Accessory

A "Tamba" is a collection of multi-stranded European glass seed beads, commonly known as "hanks." The beads are made in Italy and the necklaces are then assembled in Africa, generally by the Baule people. They were traditionally worn around the waist by women in the Ivory Coast during the pre to early 1900s, and they hold significant value among collectors. Today they can be worn as necklaces or belts, used for beadwork projects, or simply for collecting and admiring.
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Big Buy at Africa Direct

Big Buy at Africa Direct

A delightful trader arrived with a truck brimming with one-of-a-kind goods, handpicked by Elizabeth for our store. Among the treasures are top-notch Asafo flags, a rarity we've been longing for. Our collection also boasts an array of wooden bowls, throwing knives, trade beads, and textiles, including exquisite white mudcloths and striking indigo fabrics.
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Venetian Chevron Trade Beads

Venetian Chevron Trade Beads

Venetian Chevron beads are the most beautiful, recognizable and collectable of all of the Venetian "Trade Beads".

Chevrons beads are made by a multi-part process.  They start with the making of the cane,  then another color glass is added and then this is usually put into a 12 point  star mold.

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Venetian Millefiori Trade Beads

Venetian Millefiori Trade Beads

Millefiori is an Italian word meaning " a thousand flowers".  Millefiori beads are also known as "mosiac" beads throughout the world.  The making of millefiori beads is a two step process.  First the murrine or cane is made and then these are applied to a molten wound glass core and made into beads. 
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Old Kiffa Beads from Mauritania

Old Kiffa Beads from Mauritania

The term "Kiffa" bead is a relatively new name that was created during the 1980s by US bead collectors because many of these beads were being made in and around the Mauritanian town of Kiffa.  The beads are made from finely crushed glass and a binder, often saliva, and they are fired without the use of molds.  For their wearers, these unique Mauritanian powder glass beads had amuletic properties, their colours and the many different, intricate decorative patterns all having specific meanings.
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African Art

African Art

For African communities, African art and trade beads are used as a way of conveying these sentiments, while also serving as a way to express entertainment, political values and ideological views. This is what makes African art and trade beads so special. Each piece of African art is unique and holds a world of history and cultural significance. That is why, today African art has become highly collectible throughout the world.
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