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Africa Direct

Samburu Whitehearts Venetian Trade Beads African

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Title Samburu Whitehearts Venetian Trade Beads African
Other Names Whitehearts
Type of Object Two-layer wound glass beads
Made In Venice
Traded In Africa
Approximate Age Late 19th-Early 20th Century
Overall Condition Good. Some of our beads have traveled at least three continents, and have graced numerous owners. Small chips, corrosion, and pitting are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.
Damage/Repair Pitting and chips.
Bead Size 6-8 mm diameter. See picture with penny for size comparison.
Strand Length 25 inches (includes string/raffia)

The Samburu of Kenya and Tanzania use these beads in an elaborate neckpiece/collar.

Additional information:
These early two layer beads with white or yellow cores were traded in both the Old and New Worlds, in Africa and both North and South America. They appear to glow from within. According to Picard, which has many examples in WHITEHEARTS, FEATHER AND EYE BEADS FROM THE WEST AFRICAN TRADE, "White hearts...may be drawn or wound. Cornaline d'Aleppo are among the most cherished beads for collectors...because of their rich outer layer color." Cornaline is the French and Italian word for carnelian, and it is believed that these beads got their name because they resembled the red color of carnelians.