African-Inspired Blue Glass Trade Bead and Brass Mask Tribal Necklace



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 collar are the African woven brass beads, the ancient-looking brass rings from Nigeria, and the uniquely detailed brass mask handmade in Ghana. All of these pieces are bursting with traditional African character and soul.

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.

To add a modern touch, I have included three beautiful contemporary glass beads. These are all entirely handmade using age old lampworking techniques in which rods of glass are melted in the flame of a torch and then wound slowly around a mandrel. The designs are all added while the molten glass is slowly turning on the rod. Each bead can take hours to create and may one day be considered ancient wonders.

This soulful and exotic artisan necklace closes with a handmade silver s-hook clasp and can be adjusted from 15 to 19 inches in length. Check out the Bakim-Mutum Bracelet too!
Length: 15" + 4" extender
* I make every piece of jewelry myself with gemstones and natural materials I get from all over the world. Due to the nature and availability of the materials, each piece of jewelry will vary slightly from the original. Every piece will be equally beautiful and every piece is an original work of art.