Few fashion accessories can be described as both enhancing of femininity, and stylishly poignant – apart from African Waist Beads. Exquisite and exuberant, our African Waist Beads are sourced from the very Yoruba and Ghanaian tribes whom adopt them for the embellishment of the female body, and to celebrate the beauty of the female form. Strings of waist beads can range from a singular rope, to an intertwined belt of many strands. Usually threaded with tiny glass seed or Christmas Beads, African Waist Beads are meant to get you noticed - hence why you'll find each consists of variegated bead colors and sizes. Waist Beads vary in length, from a tiny 24 inches, up to around 72 inches. All of our beaded waist jewelry is over 5 feet long!
Culturally, African Waist Beads have some fascinating uses – particularly within Yoruban culture, as a tool in the seduction of men, by women. Even within Southern Africa, feminism most definitely plays a role within the courting process – although it's far more subtle than in the West. African Waist Beads are thought to back to around 500 B.C, and are traditionally worn by Yoruban women beneath their normal attire. Only the trained ear will notice the distinct clack-clacking as she walks. This act is intended to draw male attention to the female waist, hips and derrière of the woman, which are considered to be the most attractive areas of the female form.
Some strands of African Waist Beads tend to be more formulaic in structure than others, featuring an even count of tiny glass seed beads, along with larger glass spacers. There is a reason for this. Aside from being a subtle communication tool, waist beads are also thought to ward off negative energies, promote gastro-intestinal health and even heighten fertility! Modern Krobo women also use them as a way of keeping a strict eye on weight gain, since the beads are tied and therefore usually not adjustable. Any tightening of the bead strand, and she knows she's got to cut down on the happy snacking!
Today, African Waist Beads are still considered a vogue fashion accessory, both within Ghana and the Western world. Young Ghanaian women refer to them as “Djalay Djalay” or “Yomba”, and are reviving the trend with the belief that vintage is the way forward. Common practice is also to submerge waist beads within scented oils, so that the fragrance will carry when the wearer walks. Whether worn for beauty, protection or as a feminine statement, African Waist Beads truly accentuate and define the female form better than any decorative belt!