Most of our African beads, especially beads from Ghana, come strung on a special material known as Raffia. Raffia is a straw-like material that comes from large palm trees in Africa. It is very similar to hemp, and is used for all sorts of purposes, from stringing beads, to creating twine. In West Africa, where most of our trade beads come from, it makes for a great, environmentally friendly and biodegradable material for stringing beads.
Mixed African Recycled Glass Beads strung on Raffia
But many of our customers ask us if it is okay to remove the African beads from the raffia, once they receive their beads. The answer is absolutely! But before you grab a pair of scissors and cut through that beige raffia, make sure its what you want to do, because if you cut it the wrong way, it can be difficult to put it back together. Most people that purchase African trade beads from us, use the beads to create finished jewelry. In this case, it would make sense to strip the beads off the raffia. Other people may only want to remove one bead from the strand. In this case, we recommend you try your best to undo the raffia string from the head of the strand, without using scissors. Once you undo it, carefully remove the bead of your choosing, and quickly re-tie the raffia. It's important to keep the raffia string wound well, because once its spiral is undone, you may have a very hard time putting it back together. Here's another fun tip...if you do choose to remove all of your African beads from the raffia, do your best to keep the raffia in tact. It would make a nice addition to your crafts kit -- you never know when it might come in handy! :)