African Beaded Jewelry

Antique Beaded JewelryBeaded jewelry, be it African or Indian - has an irresistible charm of its own. Woven and worn for centuries, they are the most loved of all jewelry items. Handmade beaded necklaces, earrings, bracelets, anklets and other items have attracted young and old alike. Beads come in different sizes and are made from a variety of materials. Glass, wood, clay, metal, bones, stones and plastic are some of the materials used to make beads.

From time immemorial people have loved beaded jewelry for their simple charm. In fact, they make the strongest statement about the elegance of simplicity.

Beaded Jewelry has a rich tradition in Africa. Beads have become powerful elements of expression and articulation in African life. Their use offers insight into hundreds of diverse cultures. Ornament literally is used to delineate the unique identity of each culture For example, the jewelry worn by East Africa's Masai and Samburu people incorporates specific and different patterns, forms, and shapes. But both use the same basic building blocks: tiny glass or porcelain beads. The Zulu, Ndebele, and Xhosa of South Africa also use these small beads to create culturally distinctive forms of jewelry. All members of society wear most of the beadwork found in eastern and southern Africa. But in West Africa, in the Yoruba culture of Nigeria and Cameroon, beadwork is reserved for members of royalty. In India, beaded jewelry has its own cultural significance. Rudraksha beads have religious and spiritual significance, while Tulsi beaded necklace is worn for health. Gemstone beads are potent in spiritual, mental and physical betterment, while mangalsutra - a necklace of black beads is symbolic of marriage. Thus, beaded jewelry is special in its beauty and impact.

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