Sandcast Beads are also known as Powder Glass Beads, Dry Powder Glass Beads, and Sugar Beads due to the fact that their surface texture resembles a grainy surface such as sand on the beach. In fact, the name Sandcast is somewhat misleading since they are made from glass and clay is actually used for forming the bead molds. Some Sandcast Beads are also made by people of the Krobo tribe and are also known as Krobo Beads. It is believed that Sandcast beads were first made in sixteenth century Ghana before they were introduced to and produced in other regions of the continent. Because of this, Sandcast Beads are considered a traditional bead craft of Africa.
The process for making Sandcast Beads involves multiple steps and is similar to the techniques used to make other Powder Glass Beads. In the initial step old glass is recycled by pulverizing it into small pieces with the use of stones or other tools. The glass particulates are poured into molds of appropriate sizes and shapes and then introduced into earthen kilns or ovens made from termite clay where the glass powder is melted into molten glass. Once the glass has annealed, the beads are cooled and separated from the shaping mold. They may be washed or polished depending on the desired design before they are strung or integrated into different kinds of jewelry.