Kazuri and Ostrich EggShell Bead Necklace

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.

ostrich eggshell and Kazuri bead necklace modeled copy

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.

ostrich eggshell and Kazuri bead necklace copy

The Kazuri bead was made in Kenya by a collective that started decades ago to help single mothers.

kazuri beader

Kazuri Bead artisan

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.

making ostrich eggshell beads

Making ostrich eggshell beads – Picture Source

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.

nharo making ostrich eggshell beads

Drilling ostrich eggshell beads – Picture Source

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.

Reference
Cultural Survival : Enabling Women to Live the Life They Choose – Women’s Work

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