Saturday, March 8, 2008

African Trade Bead Challenge is Here!

If you heard about my Peruvian Bead Challenge and have been waiting for another, now is your chance! This new challenge involves African Trade Beads. Many of our African Trade beads were created in Europe and traded in Africa during the 1800s. Some beads are newer like the bottle glass beads. These beads are old and worn and are not for those looking for a "clean, perfect bead".

I have one supplier for these beads and his name is Zakari. He is a delightful man that hails from Nigeria. I received my first email from him about 10 years ago. I love him, but his English isn't all that great and I didn't really understand what he wanted of me. About a week later, a HUGE box arrived at my warehouse overflowing with African Trade Beads and I was hooked. Although a little worn, these beads are colorful and funky and unique beads on the market.

So what is the challenge you ask? I will send you three packages of some of our most popular beads. One package of Cobalt Bottle Glass from Ghana (these beads are newer), one package of Silver Roundish Beads from Ethiopia (older), and one bag containing a little more than half a strand of Christmas Beads from Ghana (older) all shown to the above right. You will have three weeks from the mailing date to make a project with these and any other beads you want to add (they don't have to be from When you're done, email me a picture of what you made and a blurb giving me your opinion of these beads. You must also agree to let me post your full name and city and state where you live.

This challenge is now closed...I have the five participants. The beads will be mailing out soon and in about 3 weeks I'll post what the participants made and their opinions of these beads. It'll be fun to see what the 5 different designs are so check back!


  1. How much fun was the African Bead Challenge? Where do you get all this inspiration? I just love to see what other people make with the same beads. Makes me want to get some beads out today and PLAY. Keeps me tuned in to see what you will come up with next. Buzzz...

  2. I just signed up for your blog. I would love to do a challenge. Do you plan on having another one? I will be the first to sign up. I am new at creating jewelry but love it!