Antique ethnic African Trade beads were central to Rita's collection and necklace design from the early days in the late 1970's. Rita's beads came from African traders and originate from countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Ethiopia, and Mauritania and the Ivory Coast. All of the African Trade beads in Rita's collection are antique or vintage, unless specifically marked as new production. The Collection includes both African Trade beads and African-made beads.
African Trade beads originate from Venice, Bohemia and other European countries including Germany, France and the Netherlands. They were used in barter and trade in Africa and the Americas. The beads in our collection are all old or antique, varying from 80 to 500 hundred years old, though for the most part, the beads available today were made in the late 19th century or the early 20th century, They have often had several owners in multiple countries and continents.