Using handmade beads in jewelry designs enhance the handcrafted aspect to greater heights. So we are pleased to introduce our inspirational series which make use of Kazuri ceramic beads in jewelry designs. The first Design Team memberto be featured is Pearl Blay who is the artisan behind a highly popular jewelry blog, The Beading Gem’s Journal.
Her necklace design shown above and below features a single Kazuri bead. She called it the Nearly All African Handmade Bead necklace because with the exception of the reddish pony beads, all the beads were made by African artisans. The wire clasp is also handmade.
The Kazuri bead was made in Kenya by a collective that started decades ago to help single mothers.
The whitish beads are fair trade ostrich eggshell beads which were bought from Nharo.com. These are made by the San (formerly known as Bushmen) who are indigenous hunter-gathering people in the desert area of Southern Africa.
They painstakingly cut up the ostrich eggshells into little rounds using available tools – typically an impala horn. The bead holes are then drilled out by hand.
Ostrich eggs are very important to the San not just as a food source but as a means of carrying water around. It is also a symbol of fertility and prosperity so making eggshell bead necklaces as gifts is part of their tradition. Today the eggshells are harvested not from the wild but from ostrich farms. They are thus environmentally friendly.