Width: 1 inch
Choker Hanging Length: 8 inches
Necklace Hanging Length: 14 ½ inches
Hand Crafted in Kenya
This stunning choker/necklace was handmade in Kenya using black and white bone beads. The design on the black and white bone beads is created through a dying method known as "batik", which is a wax relief process, this method is used to dye mud cloth.This necklace is adjustable by moving the knots on either side, so that it can be either a choker or a necklace
Wealth in Africa is measured in the amount of livestock you own, so everything is used when an animal is killed. The beads of this necklace are made from cow bone that has been bleached and dyed brown, strung together with some black African glass beads.
Owning a piece of African jewelry is more than owning a piece of jewelry its possessing a world of culture and history in its own beautiful form. Even though there is history and meaning behind each piece, it’s the art in the jewelry that grabs the attention of most collectors.
African jewelry is an ancient and time honored art form that reflects the art of African heritage, culture and history. There are several artistic, religious, spiritual and cultural elements of African heritage visible in each uniquely crafted piece of jewelry.
Around the turn of the 10th century, when bronze work was common, crafting these pieces became more intricate. Bronze pieces were normally decorated with ivory or precious stones and several of these pieces were identified with royalty. Beads have also played a very important role in African culture and can be seen today in many of the beautiful pieces of jewelry created by the skilled craftsmen who make them.
Modern African pieces still remain true to the same historic values and meanings of the past. These values represent different elements of African culture and reveal the importance of each piece of jewelry, which in turn makes them so special to collectors and art lovers everywhere.
The history and meaning of each piece of jewelry is unique. It is said that owning one of these pieces provides hope, wisdom and well-being to its owner. So start your own ‘art’ collection today.
About African Trade Beads
African trade beads came about as a result of the need for traders along the route between Europe and Africa for a currency to trade with the Africans. Beads fitted here as the most appropriate medium of exchange due to the affinity that African people had for various types of beads. The trade beads were therefore used for purposes of battering goods of value from the peoples of Africa such as ivory, gold, and palm oil.
The history of African trade beads dates as far back as the fifteenth century with the coming of the Portuguese. Upon arrival in West Africa, the Portuguese discovered just how important beads were to the African people. The beads they found were crafted out of various objects and materials including gold, iron, ivory, organic objects and bone. At the same time, the Portuguese discovered that the resources that the European market was desperate for were in abundance in Africa. The traders therefore decided to use glass beads as a medium in bartering for goods and raw materials with the Africans.
Glass beads were particularly singled out because glass working technology had not yet been discovered in Africa. Therefore, the African people were in awe of the exquisite beads of glass that the European traders had to offer. Because these beads were also used in bartering slaves, they were to later earn the name “slave beads” or aggry beads. Europe responded to the popularity and increased demand for African trade beads by increasing production in cities such as Venice which is today still famous for its unique and rare glass beads.
About Kenyan Culture
Currently there are more than 40 different ethnic group in Kenya.
The main groups of tribes are the Bantu who migrated from western Africa, the Nilotic people who originated from Sudan and the Hamitic group, who were mainly pastoral tribes from Ethiopia and Somalia. The main tribes are Kikuyu (21%), Meru (5%), Kalenjin, Luyha, Luo (14%), Kisii, Kamba, Swahili, Masai, Turkana
The other large ethnic groups include the Luo, Luhya, Kamba and Kalenjin- There are also some groups of people who form a very small population. This includes the tribe of El Molo.
Kenya culture is a fascinating way of life that blends the traditions of thousands of years of African social evolution with the modern influences of the 20th century. The multifaceted culture of Kenya is expressed in different forms, ranging from its people and language, food, music and dance, art, artifacts, theatre and literature to its ethnic values and ethical norms. Combined with other traditions, these forms of expression and lifestyle form an identity that is uniquely Kenyan.
Another fascinating aspect of Kenyan culture is the art and artifacts that Kenya's different ethnic groups craft manually, using readily available local materials. Beautifully carved wood sculptures showing exquisite detail and craftsmanship are produced in large quantities and sold to tourists both locally and abroad.
Other popular Kenya artifacts include colorful hand-woven sisal baskets, Maasai beaded jewelry, gold and silver jewelry, musical instruments, soapstone sculptures, tribal masks, figurines, paintings, prints, batik cloth, kangas and the beautiful traditional Kikoys (African sarongs).