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Antique African Hebron bead necklace with agate, 20"

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This large ethnic necklace has a major tribal feel to it. The green and yellow beads are Hebron beads, a kind of African trade bead made with salts from the Dead Sea. They were widely made in the mid 1800's and earlier. The most common color of Hebron beads is a dull yellow. They also come in different shades of blue and green, but these colors are much more difficult to find. Hebron beads are very often referred to as "Kano beads".

As spacers between the ancient Hebron beads, I used agate beads that I picked up in Timbuktu, Mali.


I am a bead collector and bead artist who has downsized into a smaller house and it quickly became apparent that unless I find new homes for some of my beads and beadwork, we will quickly be sleeping in the street. For that reason, I will be listing a whole lot of necklaces from my private collection here.

I spent 12 years living overseas as an expat and another 5 years traveling full time. Whenever and wherever I traveled, I sought out beads. I bought the best of the best and bought them for me – I never intended to sell them. The necklaces I made with my beads were intended for my own personal use. If I’m honest, I will admit I have many I’ve never even worn. I mean – how many can one person wear anyway?

My antique Ethiopian silver, in particular, is something to consider. We landed in Addis Ababa (the capital of Ethiopia) in 1995 – four years after the Communist regime was overthrown. Four years was enough time for things to stabilize and tourists were starting to trickle in. For the first time in many years, families were able to sell off their old jewelry and I was there. Needless to say, I snatched it up.

By the time I left in 2002, the good stuff was no longer available. Every once in a while a shopkeeper would call me to let me know he got something amazing in, but for the most part it was unavailable. If you were to go to Ethiopia today, you would not find what I have. Even if you managed to find it, the museum would not allow you to take it out of the country.

I have a large collection of museum-quality Ethiopian silver. At this point I am selling my finished pieces and may, one day, decide to sell the individual pieces I have. For now, however, those will remain with me.

During the 25 years that I’ve been beading and collecting, my work has varied tremendously. It is always influenced by where I am living at the time – when it Africa, it had a more tribal feel ; in Taiwan, the Chinese influence is apparent; now that I’m in the USA, my beadwork has a much more modern feel. You will immediately see the variations.

If you want matching earrings, it is possible that I might have beads to make some. I make no promises, but write and ask and I will check to see what I have.

I am not replacing my stock of beads and am (attempting to) not add to it. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Get it now, as I have no intention of selling beadwork for ages. I simply want to create space in my home for us to live :-)

You can read more about me and my travels at www.familyonbikes.org
I have many pics of my work at www.familyonbikes.org/beads

Antique African Hebron bead necklace with agate, 20"


  • Handmade item
  • Materials: antique Hebron beads, agate beads
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Feedback: 88 reviews
  • Favorited by: 20 people