Friday, March 11, 2011


In my last post I showed a vintage photo of a girl wearing traditional beaded jewelry from the KWA -ZULU NATAL region. 
In this post I would like to show you some of the styles and designs created in the Eastern Cape - the province where I live and work. Being a passionate collector of trade beads since many years I have always been fascinated by beaded jewelry and African beads.
These two photographs come also from my own collection. They show vintage mannequins that have been hand-crafted for a local museum display more than sixty years ago, attempting to portray the traditional Xhosa culture. 


Some of the most extensive collections of traditional beaded jewelry can be found in small museums in the Eastern Cape. I think that the importance of these collections, that were mostly collected privately at one stage, and have been donated to the museum later when the collectors have become old or died, will be understood and valued more at a later stage.
I have spent more than one afternoon looking at these incredibly beautiful and tasteful pieces from days of old.

You can see here that the designs of the beginning of the last century have been very elaborate and very complicated, making use of a lot of different colored beads. Classical traditional pieces are headbands, necklaces varying in length and width, belts, anklets as well as bracelets - some of them worn high above the elbow.

Interesting for me was, being just an observer and not an expert, that earrings are not to be seen often on old photographs. 
Today beaded jewelry has taken on a completely new and modern turn. And since huge dangles are the-in- thing of the moment we have worked on some funky designs. I collaborate with a mother-daughter-team who are experts in more than one beading technique, have taught me to bead and who bring my designs to life.

I have called this design " THE COLORS OF MY NATION " representing the spirit and the vibrancy of Africa.

The close up shows you the thin metal wire used to make these huge dangles more stable.
Beaded jewelry has always a 'soft  connotation" but for this design stability was needed. We have kept the traditional beading technique but added some modern material.

Stunning, is she not? Beautiful like a true African queen. Cornelia.

 And this design I call 'White African Wedding"
 Does one still need a dress when wearing them ?

And there is blue as well.

Black and White

and the urban look

You can check out more designs here: Chocolat Negro

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails