Antique Pearlized Medium Sized Glass Nila Beads from Mali - Rita Okrent Collection (AT0637)

LIMITED AVAILABILITY: Only 3 left

Gorgeous strands of medium sized white and worn mixed color glass medium nila beads with a lovely mother-of-pearl quality to them.

Just a few of these special strands in stock. 

23-24 inches of beads per strand. Bead are graduated and range from 6-9mm with some tiny beads sometimes at the end..These larger cousins of Nila beads are also referred to as Dardig beads.

“Medium” is a relative term comparing these to smaller glass Mali nila beads from our shops.

The colors of the beads in these strands come out when treated very gently with a tiny bit of olive oil (rub a little on your hands and then handle the beads). These beads also could be cleaned with water to bring out more color, as in the photos showing darker beads - some of the white color is patina due to age and burial. Expect some natural variation between strands from the color pictured and between strands. These beads can also be left as is.

Strands sold individually. Strands photographed are available. Each strand differs a little, but all are similarly nice and close to the same length. I have located a few more of these strands, so now there are some listed that are not photographed, but all are in the same family.

Nila / dardig beads are the Islamic-era glass beads than can be found in colors ranging from blue, green, red, black, white to yellow that are widespread in West Africa. They are sometimes also referred to as Indo-Pacific or Trade Winds beads, in reference to the ocean streams and winds that, for centuries, were used by the Arab merchant ships bringing them from India to Africa. They often have oxidization patina from burial and age. Large quantities have been found along the river banks of the Niger river in Mali and buried in large quantities in clay pots, used as a form of currency. They are also found in the ground in parts of West Africa and Southeast Asia. The name "Nila" comes from the Sanskrit term for indigo.

As research and technology evolves, there is a greater ability to verify glass bead making by local manufacture in West Africa.
Some useful reference articles:
https://theconversation.com/how-we-found-the-earliest-glass-production-south-of-the-sahara-and-what-it-means-142059

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317775780_Ancient_History_of_Technology_in_West_Africa_The_Indigenous_GlassGlass_Bead_Industry_and_the_Society_in_Early_Ile-Ife_Southwest_Nigeria


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gao

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songhai_Empire

African Item 0637

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Rita's Story

Rita became interested in making jewelry in the early 1970s when she took a silversmithing class through the local community college. By the mid-1970’s, she had developed an interest in ethnic and tribal beads and artifacts and began designing necklaces. In 1977-1978, Rita and the family lived abroad as Rita’s husband, David, a professor at UCLA, was on sabbatical leave. Rita always had a good eye for interesting items, but on this extended 14-month trip she was able to explore and buy from dealers in the souks of Israel and Egypt, flea markets in London, Paris and Vienna and from sellers in Hong Kong and China, Iran and India. During her travels, she searched for ancient and antique beads and pendants, for small antiquities and for unusual artifacts.

Upon returning to the U.S., Rita established her collection and focused, in particular, on designing necklaces using ancient and antique materials such as amazonite, amber, amethyst, coral, faience, glass, horn, ivory, jade, jet, shell and silver. She often combined these beads with a central pendant or several pendants, in designing ethnic, one-of-a-kind necklaces. She designed her own hand-made, sterling silver hook-and-eye clasps, which we still make available in our Clasps section. She continued to develop her bead expertise and became an active member and President of the Los Angeles-area Bead Society. Rita held trunk shows from her home showroom and displayed at the Los Angeles Gift Show, as well as consigning items to many local L.A. stores and boutiques, including Saks Fifth Avenue. Rita’s work and collection was featured in Ornament Magazine and she contributed beads to the editor, Robert Liu with his now classic book, “Collectible Beads.”

Rita traded with merchants from Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and other parts of Africa for more than twenty-five years, providing her with an extensive and unusual collection of African Trade beads, as well as African wall hangings and wood carvings and masks. Rita’s collection grew as she continued to travel and live abroad over the years, including travels to Syria, Egypt, Israel, and Morocco. Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, Rita’s reputation continued to grow as a designer of original necklaces and as a dealer of exquisite ethnic and antique beads and artifacts.

Rita passed away from a long illness in 2005. Rita’s husband, David, built her website in 1999 with the assistance of a graduate student, and maintained it and the collection until 2008. The online store and collection are now managed by their daughter, Jocelyne, based in the San Diego area.

The beauty of Rita’s original creations and of her outstanding collection are reflected in our store and website. Our customers, both collectors and designers, come to us from around the world. We appreciate your business. Thank you for visiting the Rita Okrent Collection!

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UPON RECEIPT

Please contact us immediately in case of damage or loss during shipping. We will do everything we can to help you locate your package via USPS (or other shipper) tracking information. The Rita Okrent Collection is not responsible for lost items that are shipped via shipping methods that do not provide tracking. If you wish to return an item, please notify us within 30 days of receipt of the item, or 45 days of purchase, and then ship it back to us as soon as possible. Refunds are not available until the item has been returned to us.

Returns

At the Rita Okrent Collection, we want you to be completely satisfied with your purchase. Items purchased from the Rita Okrent Collection in sale-able condition can be returned for a full refund - please contact us within 30 days of receipt or 45 days of purchase to notify us with the reason for your return (via the website chat or via email at ritaokrent@gmail.com). You are responsible for return shipping and insurance to the Rita Okrent Collection. Please ship your purchase back to us as soon as possible in order to expedite your refund. Your refund will only be processed once we receive your purchase.

Please ship your purchases back to:

Rita Okrent Collection
1585 Hillsmont Drive
El Cajon, California 92020
USA

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