When choosing beads, I search for beads that are different…unique in color, designs and shapes. I want to inspire my customers to step outside of the box and be different. I love using African Sand Cast and African Trade beads in my designs.
Handcrafted in Ghana, Africa sand cast beads (‘recycled glass’) beads were crafted by pulverizing old, discarded glass (bottles, windshields, etc.), adding colorant and then pouring the powder into crude clay molds. The stem of a local plant is added, this burns away during firing, leaving a hole for stringing. The beads are fired in a primitive, wood-burning earthen oven. Many beads are hand painted with traditional designs and then strung on raffia.
African trade beads were sometimes called “slave beads”. These beads were popularly used as a currency to exchange for goods, services and slaves during the trade in West African countries. Trade beads can also convey identity and cultural significance–for example, if a woman is married or a man is a warrior or an elder. Trade beads also signify a person’s rank determined by the quality, quantity and style of jewelry worn, which created a high demand for trade beads in Africa.
These exotic and unusual beads display a rustic and earthy look. Their distinctive colors enhances their beauty and character. When layered as multi-strand, these pieces can add an eye-catching statement look. For a stunning combination, I blend sand cast beads and trade beads with bone and wood beads for an awesome tribal feel. The sand cast and trade bead collection can be worn casual with jeans and a tank. Or, dress it up with a cute maxi dress or a black dress. These pieces are versatile and can be worn year round. When wearing a piece made by Creations By Toni, you can guarantee that you will be wearing a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art.
Trade bead color meanings
Blue beads are thought to enhance fertility.
Red beads are reserved for ceremonies like tribal festivals, funerals, circumcisions of young boys and harvest dances.
Black implies age and wisdom.
Yellow means high rank, and gold indicates a long life.
Large and colorful beads symbolizes wealth and social status.
(courtesy of Happy Mango Beads and Wikipedia)