This necklace has a richer history than any of my other pieces and I absolutely love the grace and simplicity of it.
It features beautiful old African white heart beads in a vibrant orange color with antique Ethiopian Telsum prayer box pendants in a breathtaking combination. I used vintage Berber Silver Bi-cone beads interspersed with the Telsum amulets to make this a standout piece. The necklace closes with a handmade authentic Bali Silver clasp.
White heart beads have a rich heritage. They were first made in early 1480 in Europe and traded in Africa. It is believed that the reddish color in the glass in those early beads was brought by using real gold. Because of the elevated cost, the gold had to be used sparingly by early artisans so they started using a less expensive filler for the core of the bead with the main color forming the outer layer. This is how the name White Hearts came to be popular as the heart of the bead is white.
The Telsum amulets are antique Ethiopian Silver Telsum Prayer Box Pendants. They were usually made from recycled silver and melted down coins. These little box shaped pendants were worn for centuries as protective amulets and come in a variety of shapes. The crescent shaped amulets were worn as protection from the crescent moon while the triangular shaped amulets safe guarded the wearer from the evil eye.
The old silver-plated bi-cone Berber beads were individually handmade by a metal artisan. As you can see, each individual bead is unique. These beads are said to be silver-washed using traditional methods. Their overall rustic nature lends a lot of character to the necklace.
The overall necklace length is approx. 19.25 inches.
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This necklace features twenty seven old (made in 1900s) but in good condition African Kiffa beads used in combination with four red African Wedding Beads from Mali and Lapis Lazuli gemstone beads to bring out the blue. Each pair of beads in this necklace is separated with a gold plated copper bead/disc. Antique gold finish bead cones and a shiny gold finish hook clasp complete this resplendent red, blue and yellow piece.
The rich, vibrant colors of authentic handmade African Kiffa beads coordinate very well with the warmth of gold, red and deep blue and make this unique necklace a heirloom worthy piece for your wardrobe. It has a length of approx. 19 inches.
Kiffa beads are rare African powder glass beads, named after the Mauritanian city of Kiffa, and were first documented in 1949 by French ethnologist R. Mauny. They represent one of the highest levels of ingenuity and artistic skill in the art of making beads as they are created in open fires using simple tools and recycled from materials like pulverized European glass beads or their fragments, bottle glass, pottery shards, tin cans, twigs, steel needles in combination with gum arabic.
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