If there is one thing the natives of Africa are renowned for, it's resourcefulness. Some classic examples of this (in relation to handmade exports) are exemplified here at The Bead Chest; directly sourced wonders from Kenyan Bone Beads, through to the intricately carved Dogon Mali Spindle Clay Beads. All share one defining characteristic, which influences their eco-friendly appeal - they are made from elements of the Earth.
Of course, one must take into consideration the literal translations of "eco" and "environmentally friendly". To some, ethical products translate as those not created from any animal derivatives, be it bone, hide or horn. To others, materials derived from animals may be classed as "ethically acceptable", providing the animal's carcass is used in it's entirety and/ or it was killed in a humane manner/ died of natural causes.
It is a complex topic, from which many are liable to draw their own ethical and moral standing, however to the tribes of Africa (notably Maasai, Krobo, Ashante, Fipa and Ngola) animals and plant-life represent spiritual entities. Within Kenya, both the Massai and Akamba mythologies are suggestive of all living species possessing auras and spiritual entities. Species such as grazing cattle, heifers and goats are worshiped for their provisional values; as such there are strict "rules of faith" by which both tribes adhere when it comes to sourcing necessary materials from such species.
So why is all this relative to the Bone Beads from Kenya, sold right here at The Bead Chest?
For starters, all Bone Beads, ranging from the Batik Beads, to the Fish Bone Beads are sourced directly from Kenya, Africa. Secondly, The Bead Chest are committed to supporting worthy efforts within such areas, that contribute to sustaining the ethics and environmental values of the people whom create such products. Because all products are sourced direct from artisans, we can be certain that:
- No animals are killed purely for bone or other derivatives, used to create Bone Beads. They are used in their entirety for tribal sustenance, hide for clothing or building etc. More often than not, it is elderly cattle, and those whom die from natural causes that are used.
- The welfare of animals whose bone may be used, is of a consistent standard that we can be assured meets our ethical values.
- The "waste not, want not" mentality and faith of Kenyan tribes, guarantees that no damage, or pollution to their local environ occurs as a result of bead production. In the case of Batik Bone Beads from Kenya, vegetable dyes and tree waxes are used to create the intricate patinas.
- Our sourcing of Bone Beads from Kenya, has a transcendental effect upon the economy of the region. We buy directly from the artisans who produce these beads, care for their environment and raise their cattle!