All about Krobo beads

1043 Reviews

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Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

January, 2024

Product name

Cedi’s Beads Industry

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Krobo beads are traditional handmade glass beads produced by the Krobo tribe. They are often referred to as ‘trade beads’ as they were a form of currency, but despite their beauty, had a sinister association as they were used in Ghana’s Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

To see the beads being made we visited Cedi’s Beads Industry in the town of Akosombo, where the owner, Nomoda Djaba but known as Cedi, explained how the beads were made. We were in the hands of an expert as Cedi is internationally recognised, the President of the Manya Krobo Bead Association and a founding member of the Ghana Bead Society.

There were several different types, and Cedi showed us examples of each, explaining that his 24 employees make beads from both recycled antique glass beads or bottles with the latter being either lightly crushed or ground to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar. The crushed or ground glass is then mixed with natural pigments, put into moulds similar to escargot plates, and fired in what looked like a pizza oven. They are then left to cool and can be either polished on a stone using sand and water, or hand painted and fired again.

Large beads are often worn by kings and other important people, and Cedi demonstrated making one in a small shot-like glass, using ground glass of various colours which he poured in by hand to create what looked like an eye.

Tour over, we visited the delightful shop which had an extensive range of beads, bracelets, and earrings. Cedi gave us a quick introduction to the fixed prices, always a winner in my opinion, and left us to browse. The prices were reasonable, and I left with two blue bracelets, and a black and white one with matching earrings for less than £10.
Cedi has written a beautifully illustrated book ‘The Art of Recycled Glass Beads’ that was also for sale.

A visit to Koforidua’s famous bead market followed, but unfortunately it was Sunday and the only day of the week the market is closed, although there was one enterprising stall open. However, whilst I was more than happy with my purchases, it would have been a colourful and spectacular sight.

Helen Jackson

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