Since the dawn of time African Tribal beads and jewelry have been highly valuable and sought after in regions all across Africa. Some historians and archaeologists say that people in Africa have been using beads since as far back as 75,000 years ago! Tribal beads have been found at various archaeological dig sites in places like Sudan, Kenya, Ghana, Libya, Tanzania, Egypt and Morocco. African Tribal beads over the years have been used for many different purposes. In the past the Turkana people used tribal beads as a form of currency. Throughout history tribal beads have been incorporated into fashion, artwork, pottery and sculptures. Before the 4th century most African Tribal beads were made with local raw materials. White beads were made from clay, shell, ivory and bone. Black beads were made from iron, charcoal, seeds, horn and clay, Red beads came from various woods, seeds, bone, ivory, copper and brass. Many believe that at some point during the 4th century glass beads were introduced into African Tribal communities by the Portuguese. During the 4th century glass beads became a dominant source of currency in African Tribal culture that lasted almost over 700 years.
There are many different types of prominent African Tribal beads. Camel and Cow bone tribal beads are commonly crafted in places like Kenya. African bone beads are great for carving designs into and are often used as home decoration pieces. Tribal African trade beads/venetian beads are known for their colorful and varying patterns. Recycled glass beads are said to originate from the Krobo tribes in Ghana. Recycled glass beads come in almost every color and are very popular to be worn as jewelry and as home decor pieces. Shell beads have a rich history of use throughout Africa's history! Tribal shell beads are now used as home decoration and lovely jewelry pieces. Baule brass beads come from the Ivory Coast and historically were used as weights for measuring amounts of gold and silver. Terracotta and clay African beads come straight from the earth and are made by master artisans. Many tribes and individual artisans today in places like Uganda make beads out of recycled paper and old phono vinyl records.
African Tribal beads are truly inspiring and make for the perfect beads when creating jewelry masterpieces. Now that you know a little more about the history and types of African Tribal beads we offer here, please take your time to browse this curated section of tribal beads! We know that you’re going to be able to find hundreds of great options for your next big jewelry design project.