Ghanaian beads merchant Garbe Mohammed in a white shirt and a smile on his face standing in his stool surrounded by colourful ghanaian beads

Ghanaian beads – what’s their meaning and history?

Ghanaian beads merchant Garbe Mohammed in a white shirt and a smile on his face standing in his stool surrounded by colourful ghanaian beads

Beads are a fundamental part of Ghanaian heritage. Not only they testament to the vibrance of Ghanaian creativity, but they also play a significant role in the country’s history, rituals and culture.

WorldRemit travelled to Ghana and spoke to Garbe Mohammed, a fourth-generation bead merchant, who has sold and traded beads across West Africa his whole working life.

He spoke with us about his passion for his craft and revealed some of his secrets – including a seven-layer chevron and Roman face beads.

There’s so much more to beads than just decoration. Read on to find out more about the history of beads and what they mean for Ghanaians.

What’s the history and meaning behind Ghanaian beads?

Beads have been a part of Western African culture for a long time.

1. Origins of Ghanaian beads

The exact origin of beads is a hotly-debated topic. However, archaeologists have confirmed that the craft of bead making, especially in Ghana, goes back thousands of years.

So, what do people use beads for in Ghana?

  • Celebrations and festivals
  • Artistic expression
  • As a spiritual object
  • Fashion statement
  • Trading currency

“From the 16th century, ships bound for Africa and the Americas would load up with huge quantities of trade beads. On the outbound trip, they would act as ballast, and on arrival would be used to barter for spices, fabrics, precious metals and even slaves,” shared Garbe with us.

“Many were Venetian, including glass chevron beads and millefiori. These beads are now sought-after collectors’ items.

2. Ghanaian beads in the modern era

Over the past decades, many locals began to consider beads as slightly old-fashioned.

Luckily, their popularity is growing again. They are getting more and more attention among collectors, jewellery makers, and everyone who loves and appreciates their captivating beauty – in and outside of Africa.

The history and heritage of Ghanaian beads are also protected by the Ghana Beads Society. The first of its kind in Africa, the society is dedicated to recording, preserving and promoting the culture of Ghanaian beads.

hundreds of colourful bracelets made from colourful ghanaian beads“A

Who are the main beads producers in Ghana?

The majority of beads produced come from the Ashanti and Krobo people in the Krobo region, who occupy areas of Accra Plains, Akuapem Mountains and the Afram Basin.

The craft is often based on a family tradition, and know-how is passed on from one generation to another. Using mainly handmade techniques, beads often have unique designs and charm.

What are some different styles of Ghanaian beads?

Here are some of the most popular styles of Ghanaian beads.

an image of a krobo glass bead in a hexagon“A

Krobo powder glass beads

Formerly used as a trading currency, these beads are named after the region where they’re made. They’re possibly the most popular African beads.

The beads are created from layers of powdered glass mixed with dyes and poured into moulds. After heating and cooling, the finished bead is sometimes hand-painted with original designs.

Recycled glass beads

an image showing many glass beads“A

Recycled glass beads (or bottle glass beads) are an excellent example of creative recycling in Africa. Ghanaian craftsmen and women smash old or broken bottles into pieces as big as peppercorns. The end product is heated in a wood fire and polished to perfection. 

Brass beads

an image of brass ghanaian beads on a red table“A

The technique used on brass beads originated from an ancient process called ‘lost wax’.

Made in the old Ashanti Kingdom area in central Ghana, each bead is created in a bees wax mould and covered in clay.

The mould gets heated and cooled, which often causes it to break in certain places – so each bead is unique. 

Chevron beads

an image of white chevron beads with blue and red stripes from ghana“A

Chevron beads are highly prized, and one of the most recognisable trade beads. Modern copies – often made in China or India – are some of the most expensive beads you can buy.

The originals can be dated by the number of layers of coloured glass used to make long canes, from which the beans are ground.

“These beads were used for barter trade in the olden days. Some of these beads were even exchanged for slaves,” says Garbe.

What products are made with Ghanaian beads?

Here is a list of some of the most popular products and designs made from Ghanaian beads.

  • Ghanaian waist beads

Waist beads are the most common beaded items worn by Ghanaian women. Traditionally, in the areas of Ashante and Krobo, girls began wearing waist beads after their coming of age.

Nowadays, many women are going back to this tradition and embracing these beautiful beads.

  • Ghana beads jewellery anklets, bracelets and necklaces

From anklets to bracelets and necklaces, beads are used in many types of jewellery – for both men and women. Here are our favourite picks.

  • Ghanaian beads bags and clothes

Today, beads can be seen everywhere, decorating bags, shoes and clothes! These unique, handmade products have a special place in many people’s hearts.

Credit: 4CamRes MultiMedia, Flickr (modified photo)

What are the best Ghanaian bead markets?

Agomanya and Koforidua markets are the most reputable bead markets in Ghana. Merchants from across West Africa come to buy and trade merchandise in Koforidua market.

Just like bead producers, bead merchants are often upholding a long family tradition.

Garbe Mohammed, his father and grandfather before him were also bead merchants and his great-grandfather before that. When his son leaves school, he too will work in the family business.

He has a stand in the Koforidua bead market, located to the north of Accra. The walls are covered in strings of beads of every colour and shape – amber, carnelian agate, glass, bone, brass, wood and more.

Garbe passionately travels throughout West Africa – such as TogoBeninNigeria or Mali – in search of rare beads to add to his stock, as well as his precious personal collection.

“When I travel, I take Ghanaian beads to Togo and exchange them with Togo beads. Then I travel further to Benin, to exchange them with Benin beads. Then I go to Nigeria to sell beads and bring Nigerian beads back to Ghana. That’s how beads travel in every part of the world,” he says.

Watch Garbe Mohammed, bead merchant at the Koforidua beads market in Ghana, show us his treasures. Picture: Fiona Graham / WorldRemit

How beads make the world go round

If you’re lucky, Garbe will take out a small plastic box, where he keeps a very special collection.

“Those beads are very special. Very, very old ones. These beads were sold to my father, and after his death, I inherited them. This bead was made in the early 16th century, about 400 years [ago]. This the real seven-layer chevron.”

The original seven layer chevron, made in Venice in the 16th century, next to some modern copies“A

. …..

However, this isn’t the most unusual bead in his collection.

As well as a round, striped bead that found its way to Ghana several hundred years ago from a Thai island – discovered buried in a pot – he has several much, much older.

“These beads are from the Roman Empire… They wore them for protection against evil spirits,” he says.

two african beads with a shape of a face worn to ward off evil spirits, at the time of the Roman Empire“A

But the pride of his collection is an African bead.

“This is the face bead. I’ve been searching for this bead for almost 20 years. It’s a spiritual bead, and this one was found in Northern Nigeria,” he says.

“It migrated from person to person, man to man… And it came to me.”

African bead from Northern Nigeria on a wooden table“A

As one of the leading online money transfer services sending money to Africa, WorldRemit takes pride in sharing captivating stories about people and traditions from communities across the continent.

Did you enjoy Garbe’s story? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Fashion Ghana: Top trends in 2020 (photos)

chiffon styles in ghana
men african wear
african print dresses
ghanaian straight dress styles

With so many events happening lately, people have a chance to showcase the current trends in fashion in Ghana. This is especially true for women that keep up with the changing fashion wears. Whether you are attending a wedding, a formal dinner, a casual birthday party for a friend’s child party or just hanging out with your girls, it is imperative that you bring your ‘A’ game as far as fashion is concerned. You want to be the trendsetter and not the backbencher that waits for others to unleash new styles every time. This can be difficult at times not to mention the dent it can cause to your pocket. However, you can easily make it work for you. Get the idea from the celebrity designers pieces and work with your local tailor to create the same if not better. First things first, check out some of the trending fashion in Ghana. Trending African wear designs for mens shirts For the lovers of art and fashion trends, keeping an eye out for what is happening is crucial. This is the only way to tell what is new in the world of African wear for men and women. It is important to stay updated, especially with the current fashion styles in Ghana. Things change and you could easily be caught off guard or unprepared. It will be very embarrassing to be seen wearing an outdated fashion trend yet you are clueless. The current fashion in Ghana is dynamic and revolutionary as it just keeps on getting better. There is no way to tell which direction it will go next. Designers seem to be on the edge of their seats all the time as they come up with excellent pieces for their customers. Check out these ladies African wear styles and you will know what exactly this means. There are also fabulous Ghanaian African wear styles for men. What’s important is to pick what you like best. Types of fashion styles READ ALSO:Long African dresses for ladies Current fashion in Ghana Ladies fashion has for a good time been the pacesetter in the fashion industry. Actually, fashion was a female dominated industry, until men discovered the secret behind being unique and breaking the monotony of a simple pair of trousers and a shirt. Right now, African wear men’s design is also a thing. Men seem to have woken up as many seek attires that not only bring out their masculinity but also make statements silently. Every self-respecting man today takes extra care on their personal grooming. Actually, for both genders, African print styles seem to be an option that everyone is embracing. One good thing about these African print styles is that they will never go out of style. While it is true that they may not trend in perpetuity, you can be sure that you will never go wrong in an African attire. Days after the attire stops trending you will still be relevant in it when attending a wedding or a family gathering. This assurance is what makes the African wear a favorite for many. Regardless of the design you choose, you can be sure that your attire will be a perfect representation of the African in you. Have you seen how the Japanese kimono looks so good in African print? So, if you are looking for a hack to have the attention of everyone back to you, give Ghanaian African wear styles a try and you will have all necks craning towards you. The best African wear for men to try out Generally, Ghanaian fashion is setting the pace for most African countries. Both ladies and men African wears are being embraced effortlessly across Africa. Ghanaian fashion is among the most common, especially the men’s African wear styles from Ghana. This is one evidence of Ghanaian fashion setting the pace for men African wear styles globally. With a little background, we can thus move into examining the fashionable African dresses. Here are some of the African designs on social media that you won’t help falling in love with. 1. The sweetheart neckline Ankara maxi dress Ghanaian women should never complain about not finding a piece that will make them look good. This dress is the ultimate definition of style and beauty. The sweetheart neckline Ankara maxi dress is just what a curvy lady would go for. This is one of the many African print dresses styles that is meant to leave men drooling at the African beauty in it. It is a dress you should not give a second thought about. Get it for your next date with the girls if you want to be the envy of the group. It is one of the best casual African print dresses you can have in your closet. Apart from your casual date with the girls, this yellow dress passes for an excellent wear to a wedding. The bright color works perfectly for any skin complexion. Talk of its unique sweetheart neckline which is just what every girl would love to pull especially if they want to show off a little cleavage. The slit too is a killer. This is one of those Ghanaian straight dress styles that will leave every man staring at you. Look smashing in the latest fashion dresses 2. Mermaid goddess design If you are looking for something that will make you feel like a little Disney princess then this is it. The covered neckline brings in some form of decency in this dress. This is one of the most elegant African print dresses. Not only are the colors bright but also speaks a lot about the occasion. This dress definitely would kill the show if it were a wedding. 3. The mermaid Ankara dress When it comes to gowns that show class, this is the climax of style and beauty. Right from the name itself, the mermaid imitates the shape of thee creature. This is one dress you can wear to church or a party. The length of the mermaid is what gives it the sense of class. This is one of the most fashionable African dresses to wear to a wedding. The mermaid Ankara maxi dress is a perfect idea for a wedding gown. Imagine how good it would look. Check out the different mermaid dress variations. African attires that best suit young ladies a. Blue ankara print gown Source: The blue color is just what everyone would fall in love with considering that it represents royalty. The color is warm and captivating. The print on the dress is also fascinating. It might look simple but has a subtle touch of sophistication at the same time. You can easily wear this to a wedding or even a church function. The length of the mermaid Ankara dress brings out the aspect of decency. If you have been wondering how Ankara works magic on African print dresses, then this should answer all your questions. b. Yellow midi mermaid dress This works well for ladies that want the long dress without the ground flowing effect. This black- yellow sleeveless mermaid dress is a definition of true workmanship. It is decent, figure-hugging and alluring. The lady wears it with confidence in the knowledge that she looks stunning without necessarily being provocative. It can be done. All thanks to the Ankara print that allows for such creativity to be birthed. Latest African dresses for ladies 2020 c. Off shoulders purple This simple yet exquisite mermaid dress style is a true definition of a beautiful African princess. The pattern is warming to the eye and gives the impression that the wearer of the dress has a kind spirit. To bring in a little excitement, the sleeves of the dress takes an off shoulder design allowing the wearer to show off a little skin. It is a perfect dress for a woman in her mid-thirties. In case you feel a bit shy, then you can throw on a black jacket. This is a look that would be great for a relaxed office day say, on Friday or Saturday. 4. The halter neck maxi Ankara dress For those that love to flaunt a little skin, the halter neck Ankara dress is a must-have in your closet. Not only is this dress stylish, but it also brings out the aspect of the class. One added advantage of this dress is that it goes so well with any body type. The halter neck maxi Ankara dress is perfect for weddings or a girls’ day out. It is one of the most fashionable dresses any lady can ever own. Consider the following variations of the style. Latest African wear for men 2020 a. Simple midi halter dress This dress defines the simplicity of the style. The blue seems to be perfect for this dress as it enhances its beautify. Then there is the flowing detail that makes it a bit funky. In case you want something that can double up for an easy day with your friends and later work perfectly for a date with your love, this would be perfect. Be keen to wear this on that busy day that you can hardly make it back to the house to change. b. Red flowing gown This dress is for the woman that loves to stand out wherever she is. The little black lace detail makes the halter neck design look exceptional. In fact, the design extends to her waist drawing onlookers to her. Paired with a simple clutch bag and nice heels, this dress would make you the talk of the evening event you attend. The magnetic effect of the dress allows you the opportunity of not wearing too many accessories and still look fabulous. The top latest men African wear in Ghana 2019: Try them out today c. Yellow halter sundress This simple floral dress is perfect for people that love colors. The bright colors make the dress appear lively. It can work well for a weekend family outing. It perfectly suits younger women. 5. The love triangle V-neck Ankara dress This features as one of the most common Ghanaian African wear styles for ladies. The neckline of this dress is V-shaped. This dress comes in different lengths; the maxi, midi or even the midi lengths. Each one of these lengths works just perfectly and is determined by the wearer’s preference. Variations of the dress can lead to a bare back or at times it could be collared or even long sleeved. Check out some of the dresses in this category. a. Simple v-neck The dress is a simple love triangle V-neck design. The color of the dress matches the size of the print. It actually brings the rich color of Ankara print. The V-neck design makes it qualify to be one of the casual African print dresses. This dress can also be worn to church apart from the social places like weddings. Latest African wear styles 2020 b. Long sleeved v-neck gown This v-neck mermaid red flowing gown is excellent for the slim lady. It is both decent and stylish considering that it exposes very little. It can work as a perfect red carpet wear for celebrities. If you wear this no one will doubt your impeccable fashion sense. c. Plus size v-neck gown The plus size woman is not left out when it comes to this sexy design. The pic above is a perfect example of how a true plus size African woman can wear this design decently. The white and green printed V-neck dress makes the lady appear confident and sure of herself. The dress’s height allows you to wear your favorite comfy flip flops without looking odd. If you are looking for comfort and style intertwined, this style will do the magic. 6. Kente shirt dress Fashion is all about creativity. The Kente shirt dress brings out the creative side of fashion. From the name, the shirt dress is an imitation of a shirt, just that it looks a bit longer than a normal shirt. This is a very comfortable casual African print dresses design. It is a versatile wear which makes it common. You can wear it to church, a friend’s meeting or even to work on easy weekends. The secret is to learn how to wear it best. Check out the different ways that the kente dress shirt stands out. Best Men African Wear For Engagement For A Unique And Memorable Wedding a. Plain Kente shirt This long shirt can be worn on its own. It is slightly above the knees. You can wear it comfortably especially if you are a small sized kind of woman. Perfect for a weekend wear. b. Simple shirt dress The square patterns make the dress appear slim fitting. You can wear this button down shirt comfortably. Alternatively choose to wear tights under it. African print tops Apart from dresses, ladies can also rock African print tops. There are several designs for these tops. They include; 1. The Ankara peplum top This can be rated as one of the most common African print tops. Depending on the print of the fabric, the top can be worn with a pair of jeans or a skirt to bring out whichever intended look one goes for. This top can serve both casual and official wear. The yellow color of the top, in this case, is bright enough, so pairing it with a dull colored jeans would do just fine. READ ALSO:Perfect wedding colours combinations in Ghana 2. African print crop tops African designers are full of surprises. Who ever knew that African print crop tops would trend and look this good! For instance, this crop top looks so gorgeous and chic at the same time. The playful nature of the attire is proof that the top can be worn by anyone. Pick a color that you love and pair it with your favorite jeans. The crop tops can make some of the best chiffon styles in Ghana. Check out the following African print crop tops to appreciate cool African skirt and tops styles and probably learn how to pair your favorite crop top. a. Fancy crop top with black pants This is something only daring women can pull. It is common among teenagers and younger women. b. Green printed crop top Also a favorite for younger girls and women. This top is party friendly. It is chic and sexy. c. Brown crop top with skirt This is a crop top that a mature woman can wear. It is paired with a skirt and covers up most of the upper part of the body conveniently. A corporate executive woman in this would be revered for her great sense of fashion and style. This is one of the skirt and top styles that cuts across all ages. Men African wear Fashion designers for men fashion wear have done more than enough work to see to it that men fashion is not left behind. Several designs have been brought to the table to suit different occasions. These men African wear are seen in different pieces of cloth to bring out the unique and diverse nature of Ghanaian print. Here are some of the Ghanaian African wear styles you should give a try this 2018; 1. The kente cloth short Kente cloth is one of the richest African print that Ghana boasts of. The cloth comes in a whole range of colors whose prints also vary. It is perfect for making different attires for men including pants and shorts. The short is not only comfortable due to the texture of the fabric, but is also classy. It gives a guy the chance to show his masculine legs, while embracing African culture. 2. The Ankara blazer Just like ladies, most guys today wish to always look unique and have the attention of ladies. Most men find pride in looking good. The Ankara blazer will help you achieve this goal. This common African wear men design gives a unique sense of style. It breaks the monotony of your monochrome colored blazers. 3. The kaftan This is one of the most common African wear designs for men shirts. The Kaftan is not very new when it comes to African designs wear for men’s shirts. You can have the shirt a bit more detailed by considering embroidery around the neckline. Use a thread that matches the color of the print of the fabric. This is a perfect outfit for typically any occasion. Read more:

PHOTO Of KiDi Putting Beads Around The Waist Of A Curvy Lady Pops Up

Photo of young and talented Ghanaian musician, KiDi putting beads around the waist of a curvy Ghanaian lady pops up on the internet.
In the photo below, the “Adiepena” hitmaker could be seen putting beads around the waist of the thick and curvy Ghanaian lady.
READ ALSO: Slay Queen Tw3rks On A Dead Man Who’s Been Laid In State
Apparently, KiDi’s choice of women are the ones with thick and curvy bodies.
Social media folks are asking whether it’s him or not but a close look at the photo shows it’s our very own KiDi.
The identity of the curvy lady is still not known. It could as well be scenes from a music video.

The beautiful art of Glass Bead making from Ghana

You might not know this, but Venice is not the only place in the world where people make beautiful things out of glass. For decades, Ghanaians have been making wonderful glass beads from recycled glass, and they are absolutely captivating. If you want to learn more, continue reading, and we will tell you all about it.

The most well-known traditional Ghanaian glass beads, also known as Krobo (named after the mountains where the main production area is) are beads made out of recycles glass. This mostly means discarded glass bottles, as well as other glass things that have been thrown in the trash. And people of Ghana have learned how to turn garbage into something beautiful.

The earliest finds of Ghana glass beads date all the way back to 970-1000. However, if we only consider the ones made out of recycled glass specifically, then it is believed that people of Ghana, particularly Krobo people, have been making glass beads since the 1920s, maybe even earlier.

There are three types of beads made out of recycled glass:

  • Translucent beads;
  • Powder glass beads; and
  • Painted glass beads.

  • Cedi Beads – Pulverized glass
  • Kirstin van der Laan

Regardless of the bead type, the recycled glass is first washed thoroughly of all the dirt and liquid and then sorted by colour. Depending on the type of bead, glass is either broken into small pieces to make translucent beads or crushed with a mortar and pestle to make powder glass beads. Painted glass beads are basically the same as powder glass beads, only they are also decorated with the paste made out of powdered glass and water.

So how does it all work? Let’s look at the process step by step:

  1. In order to make beads out of recycled glass, Ghanaians use special clay moulds with holes of various shapes and sizes. The holes are filled with glass fragments or powder, and in latter case, cassava sticks are put in places where the holes should be. While the beads form, the cassava sticks burn away and leave holes in their places. 
  2. After the moulds have been filled, they are put in kilns that are made out of termite clay. 
    • Translucent beads take about 35 to 45 minutes at 850-1000 °C; 
    • Powder glass beads take about 20-30 minutes at 650-800 °C; 
    • Painted beads need to be cooked in the same way as the powder glass beads. After the first round in the kiln, they are taken out, painted over with a mix of powder and water with the help of a wooden stalk and put back in the kiln to cook a second time. That way, the design will stay on. 
  3. After the cooking time has passed, the moulds are taken out of the kilns so that the beads can cool. However, if we are talking about translucent beads, the artisan has to make holes in them before they become cold. The craftsmen use awls to poke holes in the centre of each bead before they harden. 
  4. The beads can be removed from their moulds after about an hour after being taken out of the kiln. If anyone tries to take them out before that, the beads might crack. 
  5. When the beads have been removed, they need to be washed and polished. People who make beads usually use water and sand to turn the coarse beads into smooth stones.
  • Video by Floris van Luin
  • Jul 2015
  • 00:32

Apart from the aforementioned Krobo beads, people of West Africa have been creating many other kinds of glass beads. Among them are:

  • Akoso beads (also made by the Krobo people). These beads date back to the 1950s, and they usually come in yellow and green with loops, circles and stripes. 
  • Meteyi beads (made by Ashanti people of Ghana). These beads used to be made before the 1940s, and they were mostly yellow and cylindrical in shape. 
  • Ateyun beads (made by the Yoruba people from Nigeria). These beads were made to imitate coral, as they were always red. Unlike Ghanaian beads, these were not made in moulds but shaped by hand. 
  • Keta awuazi beads (made by people from the regions of today’s Nigeria and Togo). Similarly to the Meteyi beads, these have not been seen since the 1940s. They were usually blue and cylindrical in shape. 
  • Kiffa beads (made by people from Mauritania). These very colourful beads were also made using the wet core technique. The powdered glass was mixed with a binding agent (sometimes even saliva) and decorated with a similar mix using a steel needle. The beads were then cooked in open fires or small containers, such as sardine cans.

If you want to see the art of glass bead making with your own eyes, you should definitely come to West Africa. Ghana in particular is one of the countries where you can find the most bead making factories in the region, the most popular of them being the Cedi Bead Factory. So pack your bags and plan your next trip to Ghana!

Why Accessories Are Important

A fashion accessory is a secondary supplementary to a user’s clothing which is usually used to complete a garment and completes the look of the user.

One of the things we notice about fashionable women is not just their clothes which look great, but their clothes are always punctuated with great accessories. There are often a great style in the details.
Like the fashion itself, the shapes, silhouettes and colors of the accessories also change over time. In general it is hard to find cool new looks but a trendy bag or catwalk style necklace can be combined with older clothes to create new clothes.  Investin on some fun, new, fashionable accessories can update your wardrobe throughout the season even it is not in accordance with the current fashion trends.

Clothes can create the majority of clothes but accessories are more important than you think. Accessories and clothes are equally important in your outfit, working together to create a harmony that expresses your style and who you are. 

Accessories give more importance to your personal style, taste and preferences. They also offer unlimited opportunities for clothes, helping you to do the best of each item you have. Clothes take up more space physically in your closet and clothes, but accessories are important details to complete each appearance. By itself, a bag, scarf or headband may not have much effect. However, when combined with clothes the accessories help create a robust outfit. Accessories are as important as clothing, offering a whole new opportunity to express yourself. With accessories you can create a fluent style waves up from head to toe.

Accessories are your best friends. Eye-catching accessories can also create a strong style statement. You can have a lot of clothes but let the accessories to their magic!

Are scarfs important on womens fashion?
Yes, they are absolutely perfect fashion accessories for women. For many people, the scarf is only worn in the Winter months, but it is an excellent accessory even for Summer. We have to mix and match some great styles and fabrics for different weather conditions and opportunities. Scarves can revive a dull outfit. If you have a boring black shirt, you can revive it with a red silk scarf. It just transforms you and gives you a new outfit. You can wrap them around; Use them to cover your head to protect your hair or you can also close your face to protect it from the summer heat.

It’s all about accessories. Accessories can create a different world in your eyes. You can wear the simplest clothes, but you can look like a million dollars. All you need is a little planning. To get a stylish and an elegant look, add the combination of these fashion accessories to match your dress to your closet and for this  you need to follow the latest trends in accessories.

Fashion accessories can serve with the same purpose as fashion jewelry or as accessories will be used on different areas than typical jewelry, they can be used as a more unique way of highlighting the fashion accent.


The origins of beads in Ghana

Beads might be the oldest art form we know. It is reported that Neanderthal men wore beads made from teeth and bones as pendants. In fact, beads have been used by almost every civilization across the world at a given point in time as a form of art, trade currency or symbol of social or spiritual status.

While there is some evidence that beads have been used by indigenous Africans for thousands of years (mostly as a trade currency), it seems it is during the 12th century that the production started within manufacturing areas that are still up and running today, particularly amongst the Krobo ethnic group in Ghana. Beads are associated to the Krobo people, just as gold is to the Ashantis.

The Krobo, who are one of the largest ethnic groups coming from the mountains inland the coast of south eastern Ghana, are one of the most important glass beads producers in Africa.

The whole village has been involved in glass beads production for years, producing large quantities for local and international consumption. As a result, the Krobo’s have used beads in all the stages of their lives, from birth to death. For years, Krobo beads have been much more than just a form of currency or a decoration item, there have been a lot of traditions intertwined with bead usage, such as rites of passage ceremonies and holistic healing. Beads are also an important part of the family heirloom, and considered as the vessel for the knowledge and wisdom of family ancestors.

Beads, as a fundamental part of Ghana’s culture and heritage

Beads do not only play a significant role in the country’s rites and customs, but also in every aspect of everyday life, by expressing a message through their colors, sizes and choice of materials.

As body ornaments, the Krobo beads are symbolic, depending on the colors and shapes of the chosen beads, each color denoting a particular quality.

African cultures are numerous and not all of them assign the same qualities to the same colors, but here are those that seem to be the most common:

  • Gold refers to the sun and is a sign of wealth and power,
  • Green refers to nature and can induce prosperity and fertility,
  • Brown refers to the Earth and help with stable mood,
  • Yellow brings energy, bliss and joy to women and is also often associated with maturity and wealth,
  • Black brings protection against harm and gives strengths and power,
  • Red instills self-confidence to women,
  • Blue is a mark of loyalty, purity, honor and truth,
  • Pink refers to the beauty, compassion, kindness and love,
  • Purple is a sign of royal power and great wisdom,
  • Orange instills confidence and charisma,
  • White can evoke fertility.

Beads are of the utmost importance among the Krobo people when it comes to the passage ceremonies (pregnancy, birth, puberty, marriage and death), and also when it comes to the rites that accompany the installation of chiefs, kings and queens or priests.

At birth, when a child is baptized and named 7 days after she is born, she will receive a bracelet with 2 or 3 small beads that she will be wearing for 1 week.

Traditionally, girls begin to wear waist beads offered by their mothers when coming of age. This marks their passage into womanhood during the initiation ceremony, known as “Dipo” in Krobo. The custom is that in preparation for her public unveiling, every girl is adorned with beads around her neck, ankles and waist. The beads around the neck are carefully chosen so as to convey information to her potential suitors, such as her family background and wealth. The waist beads are offered as a token of good luck throughout life. Beads are not only believed to protect the wearer from harm, to heal and rejuvenate but also as a means to enhance the woman confidence in her femininity and beauty. It is also said that bigger beads could be added when the woman reached her sexual maturity, so that the waist beads could produce a very subtle sound to draw the attention of the young men around.

Today, African waist beads are still one of the most commonly fashion accessories worn by Ghanaian women for their beauty, protection or as a feminine statement. The waist beads are also use as a watchkeeper’s over weight. Quite simply, since the beads are tied and not adjustable, if they roll up the waist, this is an indication to cut down the small snacking…

The beads production

A huge variety of materials can be used to produce beads: seeds, shells, ivory, bones, teeth, coral, semi-precious stones, precious metals… The Krobo beads are however hand-made out of glass. Layers of powdered glass are mixed with dyes before being poured into moulds that will be heated in ovens. After cooling, the beads can be hand-painted with original designs.

Other beads are produced from recycled glass bottles that are smashed into small pieces before being heated and polished.

Bead-making is in some sense a family tradition, glass beads artisans are still using the same tools and techniques that were used by their grandfathers and great-grandfathers before and that have been handed down from generation to generation.

The culture of Ghanaian Beads is protected by the Ghana Bead Society, which is dedicated to preserve and promote the heritage of Ghanaian beads. The main purpose of this association is to publish an encyclopedia about beads which are found, traded and made in Ghana, by establishing a bead collection and a bead reference library. They also encourage the local production.

Today, the popularity of the Krobo Beads is undeniable in and outside of Africa.

So if you love this handicraft, don’t hesitate to get yourself some Krobo beads, whether you want jewellery or other fashion accessories decorated with beads. And if you are a bead lover, make a day trip to Koforidua to visit the largest beads market in Ghana which is really busy on Thursdays with traders and sellers from all over Ghana and parts of West Africa.

It is a great opportunity of development and growth for these populations, living from bead-making.