Beadwork has always been associated with African craft and jewellery making. Originally these beads were made from natural materials such as wood, ostrich shell, copper, gold and clay butthese bead-making skills were lost as an abundance of glass and plastic beads entered the continent from abroad. It was found that the manufacture of indigenous South African jewellery based on historic methods had completely disappeared.
To alleviate the problem, Mintek developed a process whereby recycled glass bottles were utilised to manufacture traditional looking glass beads for stringing into jewellery.
Women from Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Limpopo, Free State and Gauteng have been trained to make the beads and to put them into jewellery and lifestyle products such as serviette rings and cushions.
So far four bead making units have been set up for these women where they are able to make and sell both the jewellery and beads. The Glass Bead Making Incubator is called “Amaso” which means Beads in isiXhosa, one of South Africa’s 11 official languages.
For further product pictures, please see our Amaso Product Catalogue.