African Amber, Long Strand with Many Bicone Beads


Regular price $1,500.00

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  • Long high-graded strand of assorted shapes with many bicones
  • Beads range in size from 10x15 to 25x35mm
  • Only one gorgeous 38-inch strand like this one available, 59 beads total
  • 25 rare bicone-shaped beads
  • 4 rare clear beads, 2 large, 1 medium and 1 small
  • 2 rare round beads
  • The rest are various sizes of oblate
  • Colors are richer and deeper than they appear in the picture
  • 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.