African Large Natural Stone/Clay 20-Inch Strand of Beads Late 19th Century, Lot #123
This is a very large, heavy strand of African carved clay and/or stone beads which were brought to the US through a Fair Trade organization, which ensures that modern African artisans or owners of antique pieces in families for generations are paid a fair price, also allowing buyers to know they are purchasing guaranteed authentic beads and artwork as advertised. Over the years we have obtained both modern and old pieces in this manner; it is especially gratifying to know that modern African artists are finally being treated properly when their works are sold in the U.S. Obviously that wasn't the case in the past as from the slave trade to the twentieth century people throughout Africa have been exploted and mistreated. This piece is strung on twine which is typical and could be restrung on whatever material you like. We have seen such strands given as gifts along with a note that part of the gift will be having a jeweler or artist restring the beads in any of a number of ways. The strand (just from bead end to bead end) is 20 inches long and the carved beads measure about 1.0-to-1.5 centimeters in diameter. This is a large piece and the entire strands weighs almost 9 ounces. We cannot tell the exact composition of the beads; some appear to be carved stone while others were clearly made of baked clay. As with any collectible and most definitely with pieces such as this it is important to know the seller. Many beads, quite beautiful, sold on ebay are neither handmade nor old, but may be sold as such. Generally, as with anything, if it's a giveaway price it's probably because that is all it's worth.