Strands of Rare Antique Small Yellow Glass Nila or Indo Pacific Beads - Rita Okrent Collection (AT0690b)

Size

6 items in stock

Rare and gorgeous small yellow IndoPacific Trade Winds/Nila Beads in 2 sizes.

This group of beads was found in the Gao district of Mali, in between Gao and Niger are estimated to be hundreds of years old (1200-1600 A.D.)

These wonderful beads are great for design of all sorts of necklaces, earrings and bracelets. They wear beautifully with their natural absorption of the body's oils. Really a favorite bead in the collection for so many reasons. Great as spacers.

The color of these is a bit richer than in some of the photos and there are some beads on the strands with green hues mixed in.

Pricing vary depending on bead sizes. Select your preference from options available.

Bead sizes range from 2-6mm / strand. Approximate 23” of beads per strand. Strands sold individually. Price is per strand.

Nila beads are the small monochrome Islamic 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 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 bead researcher and expert, Robert K. Liu , writes in Ornament Magazine: “The term Islamic Period Glass Beads is used, similarly to Roman Period Beads, to classify groups of ornaments from specific geographic areas and time periods, with recognizable characteristics including patterns and techniques. In the case of Islamic glass beads we know they originated in the Middle East and flourished mostly between the seventh and twelfth centuries. Their designs display a wide mix of techniques and styles: millefiori/mosaic (including pierced mosaic pad beads), trailed, filigreed, combed, fused rods, segmented/blown, folded (an Islamic innovation, Holland and Holland 2006) and those derived from amulet shapes, like charm case beads with loops.”Islamic glass beads traveled from their sources of production in the Middle and Near East together with the expansion of Islam to North Africa, Southern Europe (Spain), India and the Far East and they reached areas well beyond Islam’s actual limits of expansion such as Northern Europe. They also flowed into Sub-Saharan Africa, where they were valued and cherished for centuries in the Malian ancient kingdoms as a symbol of status and played an important role in the communities’ rites and ceremonies such a burials, initiation or dowries.

As per bead expert, Jamey Allen: Islamic Period beads are ca. 1000 years old. Dating from between ca CD 900-1200. They might be as early as CE 700, and as late as 1400. In 1400, Western Asian glass industries were destroyed by Tamerlane. And soon after, Egypt desisted as well. This is when Venice stepped in and became the glassmaker for all of Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.

 


Some useful reference articles:

https://theconversation.com/how-we-found-the-earliest-glass-production-south-of-the-sahara-and-what-it-means-142059

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

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

African Item 0690b

 

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. On each trip, 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. (Her collection of Egyptian, Bedouin and Yemeni silver is still being cataloged.) 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!

Shipping

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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 within 30 days of receipt or 45 days of purchase. Please notify us with the reason for your return (via ritaokrent@gmail.com). You are responsible for return shipping and insurance to the Rita Okrent Collection.

Please ship your purchases back to:

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

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