Marvelous Mali

Mali in Africa is the place to find lovely jewel coloured trade beads such as the 'light bulb' or Czec 'wedding beads' which come on  rainbow strands with each bead being a different colour and pattern including striped and swirled designs.


Timbukto was at the centre of the nation and was the main trading post for West Africa.

This is what African Trade Beads say about bohemian glass beads-many of which are found in Mali.

"The three centuries of the Czech / Bohemian glass bead industry stem from the expertise of their stone cutters, working with bright red garnets in and around the Bohemian village of Turnov, in today's Czech Republic. Development of glassmaking began in the early 1700's to compete with the Venetians, who had started to produce less expensive translucent red glass and depress the genuine garnet market."

photo from

photo from

Sometimes I see something that is just beyond my patience and this lovely necklace is made by an African jewellery designer who raises money to support orphans so look at her very complicated necklace design

If I was asked to create something like this it would be fascinating but a major undertaking and I would need to allow about 8-12 hours1

Firstly I would thread at least 20 strands of small African glass beads .I like the use of white beads here but another bright colour like red or turquoise would work too.After all of the threads were done and laid out on my work table I would start the twisting of the strands and would finally attach the strands to one or more button type fastenings.The other ends could be looped over each other to make a closure.

As I say not easy but how fantastic to be able to produce something as beautiful as this.

The best thread to use would be a c-lon thread which is easy to secure by applying heat to the ends of the knots rather than glue,which I hate as even with the tiny tubes I find glue comes out too quickly.I can solve this issue  by using a pin or a cocktail stick  but I still prefer the heat sealing method.