African (Ghana) Recycled Glass Bead Types II

As a retailer I am over the moon when stock sells well. And then when I want to re-stock I often find to my horror beadmaker doesn’t have and won’t make any more! Puzzling, right?

Apparently, the reason for the growth of the Ghana bead-making industry is the ability of the designers to come up with new ones all the time. While bead-making in other parts of the continent have declined, Ghana seems to go from strength to strength.

If you see something you like, grab as much of it as you can; it may not be available next time you come back!!!

A combination of the three types of glass bead – translucent, powder and painted – has resulted in many more pretty and unusual ones:

1. Multi-tone Translucent Beads

Initially you could find translucent beads in only one plain colour. More and more, a combination of colours is avalable. More than one colour of glass is crushed and heated just enough to fuse, resulting in a slightly grainy surface and they come in a variety of shapes.



2. Painted Translucent Beads


The blue and white beads above came in one order as a pleasant surprise; translucent beads were just that, but now some have opaque hand-painted designs on them.

So far I haven’t seen translucent multi-tone painted ones. Could it be the next pleasant surprise? Watch this space!

3. Opaque Refashioned Powder Glass Beads

Some interesting effects result from using only opaque broken seed beads of different colours which I imagine saves quite a lot of time. Sometimes left over glass powder from the day’s work is added to the upcycled imported glass seed beads to make the refashioned powder glass ones.  Ghana imports massive quantities of glass seed beads from Asia, some of which are damaged on arrival. As they cannot be returned, losses are minimised by using them to make new beads.

4. Translucent & Opaque Powder Glass Combined

I knew all powder glass beads to be opaque whether in a single, simple or multicoloured and complex designs. And so a combination of translucent and opaque made out of broken seed beads, and without the addition of the usual colourant is a delightful surprise.

Instead of using different colour layers of powdered glass, a variety of broken seed beads – opaque and translucent – is the means by which the 3 colours in the spacer discs have been achieved.

5. “End of Day” powder glass beads

I recently learnt that at the end of each day, all leftover glass powder is combined into one batch of beads known as “end of day”. Behold the resulting surpirse of that day! No two of them are alike, even on the same string.


Through the initiative and creativity of the artisan many more variations of glass bead types are possible and available and there certainly is some excitement in not knowing what I’ll find at the bead maker’s or the market next time I go shopping! And I hope that keeps you coming back to find out too.

Please send your comments.