African Trade Beads

Tribal and ethnic African Trade beads were central to Rita's collection and necklace design from the early days in the late 1970's. Rita's beads came from African traders from Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Ethiopia, and Mauritania. All of the African Trade beads in Rita's collection are vintage or antique (unless otherwise marked). The Collection includes both African Trade beads and African-made beads.

African Trade beads originate from Venice, Bohemia and other European countries including Germany, France and the Netherlands. They were then used for trading in Africa and the Americas. For the most part, the beads available today were made in the late 19th century or the early 20th century, though some are older.

We have recently removed many of our strands of mixed Bohemian beads. We are going to re-post them in organized groups. Let us know if there was an item you were eye-ing and we will pull it for you. We have also removed some inventory items with older photos. Feel free to send us an inquiry if you had your eye on something and it has recently disappeared! We might just be updating its photo.

Antique Dutch Moon Beads with Old European Glass and Vaseline Beads, Strand - AT0635c

Antique Dutch Moon Beads and Antique European beads with a few Vaseline beads.

Approximately 100 beads. Bead sizes range from 7-13mm diameter.

Lovely, rare, opalescent old beads traded by the Dutch in East Africa. 1800's or earlier.

This strand is marvelous and has a lot of unique and useful beads.

African Item 0635c

$235.00

Off-White Vintage Carved African Antelope Bone Bead Strand from the African Trade - AT1568

Off-White Vintage Carved African Antelope Bone Bead Strand from the African Trade.

Old strand purchased in the 1980's by Rita for her designs.

14.5mm beads, 14 inch strand.

African Item 1568

$16.00

Light Blue Excavated Ancient Glass Medium Sized Nila Beads, Mali - Rita Okrent Collection - AT0632

Light Blue Excavated Ancient Glass Medium Sized Nila Beads, Mali.

Strands measure approximately 25". Bead sizes range from 7-14mm in diameter depending on strand, so please let me know what size beads you need. 3 similar strands available.

The colors of these wonderful beads come out when treated with a tiny bit of olive oil (rub a little on your hands and then handle the beads). It brings out all their blues and greens!

Also referred to as Dardig beads.

Made along the river Niger. Excavated in Mali.

600-1000 years old.

African Trade Item 0632

$72.00

Ancient Heishi Ostrich Shell Beads, Mali - AT0643

Ancient Heishi Ostrich Shell Beads, Mali.

Strands vary by diameter of beads and amount of graduation of beads.

6-10mm diameter approximately on graduated strands.

Strand lengths approximately 26 inches each.

Good condition, each strand uniquely nice. More pics of additional strands coming this week.

Beads may be up to 1000-1500 years old. Excavated in Mali.

African Item 0643

$28.00

Old Golden Yellow Faux Amber Beads, Strand, Mixed Shapes, Lightweight - AT0647

Old Golden Yellow Faux Amber Beads, Strand, Mixed Shapes, Lightweight

Great to use without adding a lot of weight to your necklace design. Strand weighs 68 grams (less than 3 oz). Still beads have substantial feel, not flimsy.

Germany, early 1900's. Bakelite or other plastic. Not real amber.

50 beads total. 26" strand including raffia. Bead sizes range from 12-17mm diameter.

Some wear on these beads.

A few strands available. Let us know if you prefer one with more variations or more similarity between beads.

African Item 0647

$42.00

Mixed Antique European White, Blue and Other Mixed Glass Beads, W. Africa - AT0677

Mixed Antique European White, Blue and Other Mixed Glass Beads, W. Africa
Mixed Antique European White, Blue and Other Mixed Glass Beads, W. Africa

Mixed Antique European White, Blue and Other Mixed Glass Beads, W. Africa (AT0677)

A few beads might be considered Dutch Moon beads on this strand. A nice group of large beads.

Lots to work with for your original designs.

Originally would have been manufactured in Europe in the 1700's.

45 beads. 32" of beads on strand. Bead sizes and shapes vary, from 11-23mm diameter.

1700's to 1800's.

African Item 0677

$195.00

Mixed Graduated Teal Blue Faded Excavated Ancient Glass Medium Sized Nila Beads, Mali - AT0629

Mixed Graduated Teal Blue Faded Excavated Ancient Glass Medium Sized Nila Beads, Mali
This group is a little more worn with age. Strands measure approximately 25" each. Bead sizes range from 6-11mm in diameter depending on strand, so please let us know what size beads you prefer.

The colors of the beads in these strands come out when treated with a tiny bit of olive oil (rub a little on your hands and then handle the beads). It brings out all their blues and greens!

Also referred to as Dardig beads.

Made along the river Niger. Excavated in Mali.

600-1000 years old.

$60.00

Old African Faux Amber Necklace with Black Wood and Glass Spacers and Brass Spacers - AT1290

Old African "Amber" Faux Amber Necklace with Black Wood and Glass Spacers and Brass Spacers

Faux amber beads measure 24-28 x 28-32mm. Made of Bakelite or Plastic Resin. 7 faux amber beads on strand.

Necklace measures approximately 28" in length.

Amber could be used for focal beads in other designs.

African Item 1290

$55.00

Antique Clay Spindle Whorl Beads, Mali - AT1324

Antique Dogon Tribe Clay Spindle Whorl Beads, Mali.

Early 1900's.

The beads on this strand of 31 spindle whorls vary in size and shape. Most of these spindle whorls are round rather than bicone and all are worn, though some have held their unique design.

Bead Sizes range from 20-35mm hole-to-hole.

http://archaeology.about.com/od/textiles/fl/Spindle-Whorls.htm

African Item 1324

$70.00

Mixed Size and Color MultiColor Ancient Excavated Nila Beads, Mali - AT0664

Mixed Size and Color Multi-Color Ancient Excavated Nila Beads, Mali.

Strands vary in size of beads and color - We have a lot of these strands with beads of many shapes and colors - please indicate preferred colors in your order summary or email us.

Price is per strand.

African Item 0664

$36.00
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