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Ashanti Talking Beads from Ghana

Eclectic and beautiful, Venetian Trade Beads play a significant role as a medium of expression among the traditional tribes of Ghana. The Ashanti, one of the oldest and most populous tribes inhabiting the Lake Volta region, believe glass beads to be spiritual vessels of sorts, and therefore consider them to be imbued with a wide range of magical properties and powers. But, their most widespread use is as a communication tool; an expressive medium by which all manner of personal secrets and messages can be conveyed.

Ashanti talking beads refer to the strands of waist and neck beads adorned by both married and single women who have come of age. Traditionally, Venetian Trade Beads worn about the neck would be strung in such a way that the wearer's clan and tribe could easily be identified by others. The wealth of a woman's husband or family could also be determined by the number, and weight of strands worn.

African Waist Beads on the other hand have a more intimate purpose; they are a tool of seduction. Both married and single women adorn themselves with waist beads to draw attention to themselves - the clack clacking of the beads when they bang together drawing the eye to a woman's hips and waist. Many single women even exaggerate their gait, just to make the beads rattle more loudly. Today, Ashante “talking beads” have inspired myriad of other uses among Ashante women, including use as a menstrual cycle 'counter', weight loss tool and fashion accessory.

Ashante “talking beads” are one of the easiest types of African jewelry to emulate. Discover our fascinating collection of Venetian Trade Beads here, and make your very own Ashante fashion accessories.