Exotic Tribal Wood & African Blue Trade Bead Fringe Statement Necklace



This fascinating primitive tribal necklace is filled with soulful elements of earthy colors each bringing their own unique story and exotic flavor to the piece creating one harmonious jungle-inspired composition. With many of the components in this necklace being rare finds from history or just hard to duplicate items, this piece of jewelry is a completely original one-of-a-kind creation.

Many of the beads in this necklace are trade beads that were used during different periods in history for the purpose of trading for goods. The sky 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.

The stunning millefiori beads (the two beads on either side of the center wood teardrop) are historically called African trade beads, as they were created in Venice during the European expansion period beginning in the early 1800’s with the sole purpose of trading them to Africa for gold, ivory, palm oil and slaves. Millefiori is an Italian word meaning "one thousand flowers" and it specifically refers to the multi-layered wound mosaic glass beads which were produced prolifically in Venice during this time period. These beads were made much the same way that cane beads are made today, but more crudely. They have a less finished look which gives them so much natural character and individuality. You can almost feel the history of these beads as you look at them and touch them. They are old beads that have been traded in history showing their age and use with some imperfections such as chipping and pitting.

Next in line to the Venetian millefiore beads are famous chevron beads that were used in trade with Africa as well and are considered the aristocrat of trade beads, sought by bead collectors all over the world. Chevron beads are cane glass beads that were invented in Venice in the 1500’s and are formed by layering and molding with a result of a patterned cross-section resembling a star with chevron lines These particular chevron beads 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.

Adding some authentic "jungleness" to this rustic bracelet is the chunks of wood that are actually recycled from pieces of wood found on the forest floor. The exotic woods used to create these beads include mulga, pixie bush, gimlet, boree, jarrah, gidgee, and sandalwood. Each of these wood chunks are individually cut, shaped and sanded by hand and they are each completely different, varying in size, shape and color.

Rustic and ethnic, the ancient-looking woven brass beads at the necklace ends are made in a village near Kumasi, Ghana in Africa. 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 remainder of the beads, including those used for the original hook and eye clasp, are actually terra cotta beads from Greece. They are handmade using a mixture of volcanic terra cotta clays, kiln-fired and dyed or enamel-coated in order to create these awesome beads. I used rugged leather and primitive wiring techniques to add to the authentic rustic jungle feel of the necklace. This designer artisan necklace is 21" in length and can adjust to 25" using the attached chain.

You may also be interested in the soul-filled Tarzan Bracelet that complements this intriguing neck piece.
  • Recycled wood teardrop beads
  • Sky blue "padre" trade beads
  • Old Venetian millefiori trade beads
  • Awala Venetian chevron trade beads
  • Leafy green ceramic stones pebbles
  • Terra cotta beads
  • African "woven" brass beads
  • Greek leather cord
  • Solid brass wirework
  • Copper wire
  • Antiqued copper chain with rings and links

Length: 21" + 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.