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Bamako. Necklace.

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I have quite honestly become obsessed with Mali wedding beads! Though named as such, they are in fact worn by the women of the Fulani tribe whose diaspora spreads across across West Africa. So called "wedding beads" first came to Africa in the late 19th Century from Bohemia (modern day Czechoslovakia) and were traded in place of money for food, spices, cloth, livestock and natural resources. Now, triangular, pear or balloon shaped beads traditionally make up the necklaces worn by Fulani women on their wedding day.

I acquired these beads in a sorry state- they were unstrung and a lot of the beads were cracked in two. I rescued those I could, gave them a very light clean, and upcycled them into something modern and wonderful so they can be appreciated for many more years to come!

A traditional colour combination of black, green, yellow and white. Each bead is approximately 14mm long. Minor pitting and very small chips on some of the beads, a nod to the provenance of the piece! After all, they have probably changed hands a considerable amount of times being used as currency. Complemented by a 16mm sterling silver bali ball bead at the centre.

The beaded section is 43cm (17 inches) and I have finished this necklace with contasting blue waxed cotton cord so the necklace can either be worn high at the collar or long and draped. The longest wearable length is 70cm (28 inches). Strung on double tiger tail and triple crimping at each end for ultimate security!

Bamako. Necklace.


  • Handmade item
  • Materials: wedding beads, sterling silver, hematite, waxed cotton cord
  • Ships worldwide from United Kingdom
  • Feedback: 23 reviews
  • Favorited by: 6 people