That subtle hint of exoticism, the knowledge that this jewelry with the subtle inflections of personal taste, passed down through history, is from someplace far away from here. African beads were used as currency throughout the continent for centuries, traded for everything from ivory to palm oil. Their origins are often traced across Europe and the Middle East, where these beads were crafted specifically for use in trade with the people of Africa. Reliable sellers on eBay have listed various styles of beautiful African trade beads, many of which have authentic roots, and were purchased directly from the people, there. Made from a variety of interesting materials—from glass to sharks’ teeth to brass—African beads are incredibly diverse, a fact that helps to correlate with the equally diverse origins. While individual beads serve collectors and artists alike quite well, an African bead necklace suits the tastes of someone looking for exotic jewelry. The deep historical significance of this bead-crafting tradition echoes through your own collection and craft—centuries of trade history finding life, still, in the contemporary.
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