Krobo beads

Traditional glass beads from Ghana are often referred to as Krobo beads because the main area of production is the region of the Krobo Mountains and people.

These molded beads are made from recycled glass. Especially bottles but also other glass objects are first washed and sorted by color.  The glass is then broken into small fragments to make translucent glass paste beads, or pounded in a metal mortar and sieved until a very fine powder is obtained, to make the opaque glass paste beads. Glass powders of different colors are obtained by adding ceramic dye. 

The pearls are baked in traditional wood ovens which are made with clay recovered from the termite mounds. The translucent pearls are baked 30-45 minutes at a temperature of 850-1000 degrees. Opaque pearls are baked 20-30 minutes at a temperature of 700-800 degrees. The painted beads are decorated with a paste made from a mixture of colored glass powder and water. This colored glass paste is applied using a thin rod.

The painted beads are baked a second time to fix the colors. The pearl artisan uses a sting to pierce the translucent pearls as soon as they come out of the oven. The sting is also used to rotate the bead in the mold to form a rounded shape as it hardens at room temperature. After an hour of cooling, the beads are removed from the molds. The last step is to clean the beads and polish them by rubbing them vigorously with water and sand on a smooth stone.