There has been some question regarding the origin of these beads, with some believing they are ancient and some believing they are made now or recently. We believe these inexpensive and plentiful beads are ancient (approx. 600 years old, from the 15th or 16th century) and have been "sifted from the sand."
These beads have been found scattered across desert sands and at burial sites in Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, etc. It seems unlikely that bead makers would go through the time consuming process required to create these ancient looking beads. They are so cheap it just wouldn't be profitable.
Trade Beads, African Clay Beads, 2-5mm
Handmade☆ Rising Star
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African clay beads, 34-36" strands. 2-5mm earth tone clay seed beads. Similar to clay seed beads (these are said to be ancient beads collected by sifting desert sands).