* Old Quartz beads originating in West Africa. The ancient quartz found in the desert sands of Mali are generally small and uniform in size. They have well polished surfaces and smallish in size (diameter not normally more than 10 mm). The other common type as shown in this image, are larger hand cut and crudely-formed oblate or disk-shaped beads. Image without text belongs to Flickr user Dalbls369.
ca. 5,000 BCE. Neolithic stone beads from early settlements in Sahara, North Africa. Using simple hand-carved tools, stones were placed on a grooved stone and pecked out from both sides which was difficult, nonetheless, modern means cannot duplicate them. Tubular beads were even more difficult and came later in the Bronze Age in West Asia and the Indus Valley. Holes are generally not smooth nor even. SItes show many beads were broken in the process.
Trade beads, were originally created in Venice, Bohemia & Holland. Trade beads history dates to the end of the 1400's. Portuguese traders & ships arrived on the West African coast to exploit its many resources: gold, people, ivory, & palm oil using beads as a major currency. Millions of beads were traded to Africa. By the 1800’s, bead makers were producing designs specifically for the African trade. This image includes contemporary powder glass from Ghana and a brass bead from Ethiopia.
Trade Beads: Rare, 17th century, Chevron beads It is claimed that Maria Barovier "invented" the Rosetta bead in the late fifteenth century. It was later called a chevron bead by Northern European merchants. Rosetta beads have always played an important and valued role in trade with the colonies. They are present throughout Africa in ceremonial costumes and royal treasuries, and they are always considered valuable savings. Age of beads late 1800s - early 1900s. | Trade Winds Junction Designs