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Pearls from Africa

Since the dawn of mankind, pearls have been highly regarded as jewelry among all peoples of this earth. Nowhere does the pearl play such a role, is it such an indispensable piece of jewelry for the female sex as in the countries of Africa. Pearls are an essential part of the equipment of the African woman. Pearls are already tied around the neck, hips, feet and wrists of the newborn girl, and if the mother is too poor for this, she replaces this jewelry with a brightly colored cotton cord, on which a few pearls are gradually strung.

The basic material of pearls is of various kinds. Everything that is hard serves as pearl. Pearls of pure solid gold, brass, of silver, copper and iron, of pewter and amber, of bones and horns, plates made of ostrich eggshells, pearls of redwood, of hard seeds of various fruits, pearls of granite and rock crystal, of semi-precious stones, corals and Porcelain, teeth of animals, rows of vertebrae of snakes and fish and, above all, of course, pearls of glass, from thousands of years old European and such,

which is produced in Africa itself with local resources.

Pearls are not only used as jewelry. They are used to decorate objects such as chairs and chests in a variety of ways. But objects of daily use are often covered over and over with pearl embroidery in a real African color scheme and ornamentation. The colors and shapes used differ enormously from region to region.

In Africa, the aggression pearl was considered to be the crown of pearls. They were found as "additions" in old graves. The manufacturing process of these pearls remained a secret for a long time and it is believed that they originated in ancient Thebes. In centuries past, their value rivaled that of gold. The names of these precious pearls can almost always be derived from their color and the Africans say that the finder of an aggression pearl is themselves

Certainly of uninterrupted happiness….

In the past, the glass was made from the ashes of burnt steppe grass, today old European bottles are also used. The old glass is first finely ground and the resulting "powder glass" is processed into pearls by hand in a complex process. In the Krobo region in Ghana there is a long tradition of manufacturing jewelry glass beads from powder glass. As a rule, old trading pearls are imitated.

The brass beads of the Ashanti from Ghana are beautiful and also very complex to manufacture. Pearl production is a traditional profession in Ghana to this day, which is passed on from fathers to sons. Even today these pearls are made using the traditional lost form method (a lost wax process). In ancient times, gold weights and jewelry for kings were made in this way, today this art form is accessible to everyone. You can only work as a pearl maker with long experience and great skill. The material cost of a bead workshop is low, but the work steps are very complicated and time-consuming.

All hand-cut pearls have something special in appearance, which distinguishes them from the pearls made by the dozen under the grinding machine. Above all, the type of piercing reveals its authenticity to the African lover immediately. With the African pearl, one immediately recognizes the endless effort of the grinder - after all, with the help of a small, stone-weighted drill with the help of wet sand, he first drilled halfway from one side - turned the pearl - and then drilled from the other side . The boreholes usually meet somewhat crookedly and are always narrower inside than at the mouth, but it is precisely this apparent imperfection that gives them their special value.

Objects of daily use and jewelry made of horn have been everyday companions for centuries. In Madagascar, for example, the production and processing of the horn of the Omby's (the native breeding cattle) has a long tradition. The horns are still used today as grave decorations and sometimes also as occult objects.

Horn is a wonderful natural product and the elaborate processing by hand is only carried out by a few families.

Pearls mean tears - says an old proverb ... how much tragedy but also joy and delight can be linked to Africa's pearls - Africa is really the wonderland of pearls.

Source: Library of Entertainment and Knowledge, 1920, from rado by jadu 2002

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