At a cocktail party last week in between sips of my beloved vodka-soda-splash of grapefruit, flashes of color caught my eye from across the rooftop. I began stalking my prey (as I have a tendency to do when sparkly or colorful things strike my fancy). Truthfully, I’m much too impatient to beat around the bush so my stalking is never a long-winded process, its more like stalk-stalk pounce! So I accosted this poor woman and started buzzing around her to suss out some info on the colorful glass beads she had strung around her neck. I knew they were glass and thought perhaps they were Murano glass (a well-known Venetian export). They were not. Shock of all shocks.
I later came to find out that they are called “African trade beads”, “African wedding beads” or “Mali wedding beads”. These vintage beads were originally made in the Czech Republic and eventually made their way to Africa were the Europeans traded them like currency with their African trade partners. Today they continue to be worn throughout West Africa–Fulani women of Mali are traditionally given a strand of these on their wedding day.
So I sourced by own strands of vintage African wedding beads and plan to re-string them (they come strung on Raffia, a grass/hemp-like cord) and mix them with some more modern glass beads . Lets see if I pick up any stalkers of my own. Pictures to follow in a later post.
Big Kiss and Bigger Diamonds,