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Translucent Teal Blue Aqua Antique Small Glass Nila or Indo Pacific Beads - Rita Okrent Collection (AT0651)


10 items in stock

Gorgeous Rare Translucent Aqua Small Blue Glass Indo Pacific Trade Wind / Nila beads.

This group of beads was found in the deserts of the Gao district of Mali, in between Gao and Niger. Beads were often found buried in large quantities in clay pots, used as a form of currency. Circa 1200-1600 AD.

These wonderful beads are great for design of all sorts of necklaces, earrings and bracelets, They are wonderful as spacers. They wear beautifully with their natural absorption of the body's oils.

23 inches of beads per strand. Strands sold individually. Price is per strand.

Beads range from 2-5 mm / strand.
2-3mm bead strands (small spacers or seed beads)
3mm+ bead strands (larger spacer beads) - 3-5mm with a few 6mm beads.

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 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:

African Item 0651

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