Ghanaian Beads

Glass, recycled, clay, brass, silver, ceramic
Beads in Ghana is big business. In 2007, I made a web search for "beads" and "Ghana" and got 609 000 hits, today I got 655 000 hits. My love of beads which I have written about here, here and the other week here have recently been upgraded to obsession.

Most importantly, I have joined the Ghana Beads Society which convenes the first Thursday of every month at 4.30 PM at DuBois Centre in Labone, Accra. The meetings are enthused gatherings of bead nerds as myself, mostly other (female) obrunis and some (male) Ghanaian bead traders (where are the Ghanaian women who most often wear beads?). In the beginning of each meeting, wonderful beads are being sold for bargain prices, the peak of the meeting is spent learning about beads, feeling their delicate textures, getting shocked by how difficult they are to make/bring into the country and marveling at their various colors. There is also some networking and meet and greet with the founders of the GBS and other bead experts.

I have gotten to meet with bead enthusiasts and bead entrepreneurs like Kati Torda of Suntrade and Trish Graham of Ahene Pa Nkasa. It is truly inspiring how they have rediscovered Ghanaian beads and though determination and a will to learn have upgraded the traditional bead into modern use. See for instance the lovely bead work Kati Torda did for Miss Ghana 2005 here.

And I have started thinking about setting up my own bead business. If I did, I think I would be focusing on bracelets - which I love - and "over-the-top pieces" which would be overtly elaborate combination of the West African beads I have come to enjoy so much. In a few weeks, I hope to go for a "stringing" class to learn how to successfully create jewelery with the beautifully rustic and colorful beads I have already purchased over my first two years in Ghana. Then we'll see.

I only know, this is not the last time I write about beads.

Pic borrowed (and cropped) from Kati Torda's photostream on Flickr.


Maya Mame said...

"where are the Ghanaian women who most often wear beads?"
They're working!Lol, but seriously, I hear there are lots of bead buyers working in banks and other corporate institutions and at 4.30pm I don't know anybody who'd be able to make it.

Esi Cleland-Yankson said...

oh, i'd love to learn how to make bead jewelry too. Does the place you're going to learn only teach stringing or they teach everything?

Kajsa Hallberg Adu said...

Maya, you are probably right. being in the "creative business" I have forgotten about strict working hours!

Esi, I am hoping the class will take place a saturday (halfday) in March. I think the deal is bring your own beads and 15 GHC and all other things are included. I'll get back to you when I have a date and you are welcome to join me on my bead adventure!

Anonymous said...

Last time I left Ghana, I had 30 kg of beads in my suitcase... Actually, I had to buy a suitcase just for the beads :) A friend of mine alwas said, "you have to be member of the beads society", but I never did. Next time! :)

Miss Footloose said...


Just found this post and the mention of Trish Graham, who is an old friend! Have some of her necklaces, and also have tons of beads from Ghana that I've lugged around the world with me. Say hi to Trish when you see her!

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