Learn more about Natural Seed Beads
Not to be confused with the modern glass varieties mass produced in Japan and Czechoslovakia, the term “Natural Seed Beads” collectively defines a number of organic bead varieties crafted from endemic African plants and flowers. Among the many organic materials, such as bone and horn, utilized throughout history for bead production, organic natural seeds continue to be among the most popular for contemporary Bohemian jewelry. The Maasai people of Kenya are world renowned for their brightly colored bead adornments, many of which are customarily worn as a means of conveying social and marital status, as well as self expression. The intricately beaded collars and cuffs are still made using Natural Seed Beads, many of which come from the Aloe Vera plant. Unlike larger African Seed Beads which are often hand painted, Maasai Beads are submerged in huge vats of dye in vast quantities, before they are left in the sun to dry. Nigeria's talented Yoruba people rank alongside the Maasai for their extravagant beaded crowns and jewelry, and are one of few tribes who continue to produce beads from organic materials. Tribes inhabiting the Ibo regions make use of a wide variety of different seed types for bead-craft, including chunky palm seed husks, fruit stones and tiny seeds harvested from the Lepidium sativum plant, commonly known as “Idi seeds”. Abrus Precatorius, also known as the Jequirity Bean, was a popular type of seed used for making bracelets in Eastern Africa. That was, until recently, when scientists in the West discovered the seeds had higher levels of toxicity than even Ricin! Now, all Natural Seed Beads exported from Africa are checked to ensure they are not made from toxic plant seeds.