I remember my first visit to my local history museum at the age of 7 and being mesmerized by the inticate and elaborate designs of African Seed beads. Seed beads have been used in African cultures for thousands of years for both its beauty and spiritual symbolism. The first known beads found from over 12,000 years ago were said to have been made of Ostrich eggshells. African bead makers also made beads of shells, glass, clay and many other materials for adornment. These fine beads were traded throughout all of Europe and the world and used as currency for trade and barter.
Today, seeds beads still play a vital role for most African kingdoms and spirituality. The Yoruba people in particular use seed beads as a symbol of status and each color or combination corresponds with a specific deity. The beading techniques vary by region and culture. It’s beauty hold intrinsic value placed on society, community and self development.