African Amber, Long Graduated Strand of Large Beads

AFO-106

Regular price $1,600.00

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  • Antique African Amber beads 12x17 to 28x36mm
  • Only one 36-inch strand, 41 beads
  • This high-graded strand radiates warmth and beauty acquired over decades
  • 18 beads with interesting age lines, one is marked with a cross in what appears to be red nail polish
  • 3 red amber beads, one with holes going in two directions
  • The remaining lovely hiqh quality butterscotch color beads are all in perfect condition.
  • What’s been called “African Amber” or “Copal Amber” in the trade was made from a phenolic thermosetting resin known as PF Resin or Bakelite, patented in 1909 for industrial uses.  By 1910-20 it was being used for imitation amber and costume jewelry in Europe. Soon thereafter Bohemian glass beadmakers catering to the African market introduced the original “African Amber” between the world wars, with shapes and designs specifically created to please their customers who quickly adopted it for its own merits.
  • Aside from big Chevrons, African Amber was by far the most expensive bead in West African markets when I lived there, highly valued by the residents as well as visitors and expats. This amber darkens over time, developing desirable  fine lines caused by oxidation, heat and sunlight.
  • This distinguishes it from the most recent imitation amber that is making its way into, and then out of Africa. These beads have a more uniform yellow color and are made alkyd resins developed in the 1950s and 60s, being made mostly in Asia, although possibly in parts of Africa as well.