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African Trade Beads

Since ancient times, peoples of all cultures, races, and religions have used beads for personal adornment, protection against evil powers, and to display wealth and power. The first ones were thought to be worn as talismans to protect from evil forces. Beads have been made of every conceivable type of material known to man. Some of the oldest known beads are 37,000 - 38,000 years old made from Ostrich Shells and bones. Many other ancient beads have been found made from readily available materials, such as teeth, rocks, seeds, wood, ivory, horn and some plant resins. Later as glass and metal production began, those materials were used for beads as well. They have long been valued, traded, and adored by millions of people around the world.