Skip to content


Lo and behold our vast collection of ethnic copper beads from Africa and around the world. As a jewelry element, copper is often bypassed in favor of stronger, more durable materials such as brass and silver, however, when used in bead-craft, it can be surprisingly strong. The use of copper for producing african metal beads is thought to date back to around 1300 B.C when tribespeople first discovered copper deposits among the Dix-Huit Montagnes of the Ivory Coast. Small, yet striking, our tiny Copper Heishi Beads are a prime example of early Copper Beads produced around this period. They are modeled upon ancient shell heishi beads, and have been worn for centuries by women of Ethiopia's Omo Valley tribes whom believe copper to be particularly advantageous in improving fertility. Many eco-conscious African tribes object to industrial mining in the region due to its devastating impact on the natural environment. Because of this, nearly 75% of all african copper beads are now produced using recycled copper formerly used for pipes, wiring, radiators and industrial boiler tanks. Strips of copper are slow heated over an open flame, then slowly wound around a hollowed mandrel. As the beads begin to cool, they are hammered into shape using a flat-sided stone. In Ethiopia, the winding process incepted for producing solid copper beads has since been adapted for both cylindrical and annular Ethiopian Tube Beads. Their beautifully antiquated, seamless finish makes them inherently popular among Bohemian jewelry crafters who use them as spacers for necklaces, or strung upon leather thong for a chic, minimalist look. Enjoy these great tribal metal beads for all your jewelry making needs.