Last summer during my travels I came across a bead store that was closing its doors and going out of business. They had a sign in their window announcing 50% off everything so naturally I had to stop in. Inside I discovered a big basket of old African Maasai beads. Each bead was about the size of a grape and came in colors of red, orange, yellow, and purple. The heaping basket looked much like a bowl fruit salad. Old large Maasai beads are somewhat rare and usually quite expensive. These had an attractive price so I snatched up a couple handfuls.
The Maasai people are a nomadic tribe in the Kenyon region of African and are well known for their colorful beadwork. The Maasai rarely put similar colored beads next to each other. A darker will always follow a lighter color. The result is very distinctive and colorful beadwork.
Following their technique I strung together this colorful necklace. I added some sterling bead caps and added some sterling side bars to give the necklace a bit more pizzazz. Clearly this necklace is not a Native American design but I enjoy working with all sorts of African trade beads. You can find this necklace along with other interesting adornments at the Sirocco’s Trading Post on Etsy.