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Origin and history of pearls in Africa

In the magical world of jewelry, African pearls are the bearers of millennial traditions.

They arrived on the African continent during trade and used as barter currency.

You should know that the first pearls were produced from natural materials such as seeds, shells (cowries), bone, ivory, teeth, stones, clay. Around the 15th century, barter pearls were introduced to Africa by trade routes.

These are glass beads created in Italy (Venice), the Netherlands (Amsterdam), Germany and Bohemia.

In African culture, pearls are of great value and are used for different reasons.

Indeed, these precious objects accompany all the important events in the life of African culture:

birth, marriage and funeral.

Some pearls are known to have a magical power, even therapeutic as to cure teething.

in babies or kidney pain in women.

Beads are used to be worn around the neck, ankles, ears, hips, wrists, arms, hair; they then become adornments obeying individual aesthetic tastes

or represent a form of expression of social rank in certain tribes.

Perles, afrique, tradition, histoire, origine

Over the centuries, wearing pearl jewelry has become a traditional and symbolic accessory that even queens and kings have worn. Thanks to their diversity and their colors, the interpretation of pearls varies from one country, region, culture and may reflect social rank, marital status or even age group.

These artistic creations of jewelry testify to the talent of the populations who made them.

This is why we can say that pearls are a real fact of civilization in African society and that African artisans perpetuate this fascination by making pearls competing in color, brilliance and originality.

We can cite a few such as Kiffa and wooden beads encrusted with silver threads in Mauritania, earthenware beads in Egypt, glass paste beads called Krobo in Ghana, beads from the jewelry of the Maasai people in Kenya. and the Zulu people in South Africa and more recently the Bayas or Bin Bin in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Cameroon etc .....

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