Glass bead making was a thriving craft in the famous trading ports of the Eastern Mediterranean where the silica in the sand was very fine. After the Crusaders marauded those areas, many of the families running the factories were driven out to Palestine, into towns like Hebron. They found the salty sands of the Dead sea gave a unique quality for making glass. Hence the creation of the wonderful Hebron beads – for more follow this link: Hebron glass (wikipedia)
You will also see some wonderful antique Ethiopia crosses which I have sourced over the years. These are rare and collectable. On my site, from time to time, you will also encounter some lovely old silver amulets and Koran holders.
Real amber is between 30 – 90 million years old. Copal is the immature resin of a tree, being only a few hundred years old to a several thousand years old. Amber is the fossilised resin from pine trees. Beautiful antique African copal amber beads were used in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s. These beads are not as old as true amber beads.They are semi fossilized and are mainly found in Africa, namely Zanzibar Island, Morocco, Kenya, and Mali. However they still carry the mysteries and magical powers of true amber. The peoples of some African countries believe amber to have healing powers due to its warm and glowing colours.
Many beads have been used throughout the world as talismans and status symbols and as religious artifacts in the Buddhist, Christian, Islamic and Jewish cultures. They were also used as barter for trading goods throughout the world. Each bead contains a fascinating tale of the origins of its materials, perhaps its travels, and certainly its potent symbolism.
GLASS BEADS FROM GHANA
Kumasi market in Ghana with its vibrant colours, noises and smells is where I find the wonderful handmade glass beads. The famous recycled glass bottle beads lay coiled in their baskets, their glowing colours looking so beautiful in the sunlight – in this video by Ghana Mission Fund, you can see how they are made: Hand making African (Ghana) trade beads