African Brass, Blue Glass Padre and Chevron Bead Tribal Style Bracelet


Bakim-Mutum Bracelet

Exotic and unique, this soulful bracelet is designed to go with the magnificent  Bakim-Mutum Necklace. There are only 4 of these pieces available, and each one will be slightly different due to the natural variations of the beads. Comprised of old African chevron trade beads, enchanting African woven brass beads and blue padres, this rich bracelet is bursting with African life.

Bakim-Mutum is the West African name given to the famous chevron trade beads. One source I researched said that this name means “white man,” but I haven’t been able to confirm this. The chevron beads in this necklace are red, blue and gray and are specifically called awala beads. They are four-layer chevron beads that are estimated to have been made in Venice in the 1900’s as African trade beads.

Chevron beads are considered to be the aristocrat of beads and were invented in Venice in the 1500’s. They are cane glass beads that are formed by layering and molding with a result of a patterned cross-section resembling a star with chevron lines. Old Venetian chevron beads are collectible beads and are most commonly found in West Africa.

Adding still more authenticity to this African-style bracelet, are the African woven brass beads that are handmade in a village near Kumasi, Ghana by a time-intensive process called “lost wax.” They are made, one by one, by weaving wax "wires" into a form, investing them in clay, burning out the wax and pouring molten brass into the mold. Each mold is hand made making each bead slightly different from the next. Although these appear to be ancient beads, they are actually newly made in Ghana. The brass rings at either end are similarly made in Nigeria and Cameroon. All of these components are bursting with traditional African character and soul giving this unique piece of artisan jewelry deep ethnic flavor.

The blue beads are padre beads and are believed to have been made in the 16th through 18th century in China. They were then brought by missionaries to Spanish traders which is where the term padre comes from. They rapidly spread into the American West where they are said to have been traded by Captain James Cook and Lewis and Clark for Native American goods.

Ancient African brass rings from Nigeria frame the bracelet on both ends and it closes with a primitive style shepherd hook and copper chain.