Shop Local. Think Global. Traditional Glass Beads from Ghana.

Traditional Glass Beads from Ghana.
Last month, while shopping in Magix (vintage boutique of new & thrifted trends) during South Wedge-Ucation, I spotted the most brilliant blue beads, brazen against the back wall. Miniature dinner plates of zig-zagged-black, enshrined by lightening-bolt-yellow and cast against an inky blue sky, donned earring posts to mingle amongst the bead’s stentorian swag. The price tag? Barely $8. As I gushed to the sales women (both very trendy, knowledgeable, and nice) over these incredibly well priced, handmade Ghanaian beads, a moment of serendipitous sweetness poured over me. There she is, in unison, they chimed. In walked Amy Shema. Purveyor of these creations.
In short: They are Traditional Glass Beads made in Ghana, by-hand using traditional methods, from recycled glass. All proceeds go to fund the education of Ghanian children.
Pictures of the Ghanian Beads
taken in Ghana.
Traditional Glass Bridal Beads Made in Ghana.
Stentorian Swag. 

Traditional Transparent Glass Beads Made in Ghana.
Look for First BarbaraEllen Give-Away to Receive a Necklace!
(See Below)
Traditional Powdered Glass Beads Made in Ghana.
Notice the layers and the opaque colors.
A few weeks ago, Amy and I met at Dark Horse Coffee (one of my most favorite coffee shops) so I could learn more about these beautiful creations and this beneficial cause. I learned about the 2 different types, transparent and powdered, how the beads are made using recycled glass and traditional methods, and the cultural significance of the elegant and elongated bridal beads. Below is a Guide:
Bridal Beads: Smaller beads arranged in long strands that women wear over their hips. Not to be seen by the public.
Transparent Beads: Use a tool to create the bead’s hole. (Often shinier and more round.)
Powdered Beads: Do not require a tool to create the bead’s hole. Different powders add layers. (Often more matte and less round)
Hand Made: Broken and found glass crushed into powder and placed into clay molds. Each bead is shaped by hand, the artistry and technique passed down generationally. Once cooled, artisans string beads and merchants sell them at market, either raw or as jewelry.
Amy has created booklets aptly titled Bead Making and The Children of Ghana to outline the process and the cause. Aside from Magix and a few other ventures that she has endeavored upon, Amy mostly sells these traditional creations to friends and family. If you would like more information–to access these booklets or to be in contact with Amy because you are interested in viewing or buying from her collection (beads and bags!)–please send a comment below, via Twitter, or Facebook. I will send you all necessary information.
Pictures of Ghanian Beads and Cloth Bags
taken at Dark Horse.
Top: Mix of Traditional Transparent, Bridal, and Powdered Beads.
Bottom: Handmade Cloth Bags with Zipper in Array of Colors.
Strand of Traditional Transparent Glass Beads.
Handmade Cloth Bag in Vibrant Colors.
Rows of Bridal Beads, Worn Around Women’s Hips.
Great Gift for Bridal Showers!!
Top: Transparent Glass Beads.
Bottom: Powdered Glass Beads.

Shop Local, Think Global: If these beads come from Ghana and the fiscal resources, directed back to Ghana, How is this shopping local? you might ask. Local because you aid a local, grassroots cause, with a Think Global component. When you support this local cause, 100% of your resources support the environmentally friendly industry of a village and the education of deserving children. I look at it this way: Buy the beads at Wal-Mart or Michael’s … Or buy them from a local source.

♥ .


  1. Sustainability + Activism: Why Shop Local? — Barbara Ellen Shops Local

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