African beads, especially the recycled glass ones from Ghana’s Krobo can be quite heavy.  As they are handmade and labour intensive, it is to the craftsmen’s advantage to make them in big sizes. In addition, the ethinc group famous for beadwearing in the country, love to show off their display of beads, especially at social gatherings.


beads are an indication of social status and wealth and the more visible and heavier they are the bettter!

The Problem

I sometimes get asked if certain beads would work in a necklace made out of them and usually in those cases, they would end up being unsuitable. Below are the lengths and weights of various large beads we sell and if you’re already a beader will know they are a no-no for certain projects.  Earrings readily come to mind.

If you wanted to use them for say a necklace, you’d want them be wearable and comfortable, which means there is a limit to the number you can have in your piece so they are not too heavy.

Possible Solutions

  1. A shorter necklace or fewer beads.


I used just 6 of the 18mm round refashioned glass beads in a necklace about 16.25 inches long.  Finished weight is a comfortable, wearable 48 grams.


2. Add lighter beads

I have added wooden, coconut shell, resin and acrylic beads to 4 heavy glass beads to give me a finished weight of 72 grams and I love the variety in the bracelet.


If you’re new to using African beads, it’s really a case of experimenting with different kinds of beads you could add to make your piece beautiful and still wearable.