Perfectly Matched African Amber Strand


Beautiful long strand of perfectly matched African Amber beads.  Finding old African Ambers beads that are this nicely matched up is a real treat.  The beads measure 25 mm in diameter (or approximately 1 inch in diameter), which makes them a very manageable size for making jewelry.  The strand measures 31 inches long of beads, plus an additional approximately 6 inches of cord (making the total length slightly over 36 inches in total).   

These "amber" beads are actually not amber at all -- but are an early form of plastic pioneered in Germany and used for bead making in the early 20th century.  Technically, they are a phenolic resin.  However, the beautiful thing about these early plastics is that they actually age with time, developing crackling and picking up the oils in the skin of their wearers.  These beads were traded extensively throughout Western Africa, but were particularly embraced by peoples in Mali and Mauritania.  Indeed, these particular beads were sourced in Mali.    

Note that these beads are more yellow than they appear in the picture.  The "cherry amber" tones are less obvious when you see the beads in person. 

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