Why African jewellery Designers prefer Natural Cowry Shells.
Beaded Bracelets with Cowrie Shells
Beaded Bracelets with Cowrie Shells have Healing Values. Since the pandemic and lockdowns, African Jewellery have opened our minds to how fashion brings healing and wellbeing. Afterall, health and wellness are the two most relevant asects of our human lives. As a result, more people are choosing African Inspired Jewellery with a welness theme over other jewelry on the market. Handmade Beaded bracelets for example, go beyond aesthetics to add healing attributes. Natural seashells are among the most widely used charms in African bracelets. Hence, let us now focus on revealing some of the hidden positives in cowrie charms used in Krobo beaded bracelets.
Krobo beads, on their own, make stunning bracelets I would admit. As an African Jewellery Designer living in Melbourne, I have seen all sorts of traditional jewelleries in the market. However, with my background in the community and population health, I think the jewellery we wear, ought to mean more than just accessories. With this, I mean jewellery designers need to focus on prompting human wellness through the bracelets, earrings, brooches, necklaces they create.
Healing Values in Cowrie Charms
Crafted jewellery with Meaning and Value are what today’s conscious fashion shoppers are buying. How do designers achieve this? Well, several ways, but here is one of my approaches. Finishing bracelet designs with cowrie shell charms. look sensational. Moreover, they bring with it a positive message and healing attribute and which bring abundance of positivity into your life.
To add to that, people who wear cowrie charms have experienced a sense of overall wellness. Not so surprisingly, natural cowries have long been used by Ghanaians in healing and divination. Specifically, traditional healers have worn them as lucky charms. Similarly, they have given them to their clients to wear to bring wealth and health.
African bracelets bring positive vibes to those that wear it. To give you an example, African historians have cited how some Kings have adorned their sons or warriors in jewellery with natural cowries. The reason for this is, traditional rulers, believed that cowrie shells carry good luck. For instance, cowrie charms can help them to overcome obstacles and to win battles. For this reason, cowries were referred by people in the olden days. So, even today, people still respect natural cowries for the positivity and strength it brings into their lives.
Ethical Values in Handmade Beaded Bracelets
In contrast to fast fashion, handmade beaded bracelets have been crafted consciously. What do I mean by this? Well, putting careful thought into your creations is quite low. However, it brings the advantage of adding more meaning into the crafted jewellery. Also, another aspect of crafting consciously is to do with human ethics.
Ethically crafted jewellery and accessories do bring several benefits, even long after they are worn. So, let me use the crafting of Krobo beads to illustrate this. The Ethical values in African trade beads has been widely explored for some time now. Krobo beads are made from recycled glass. Read more about the Krobo Beads Industry in Ghana to find out how they are made. Discarded plastic and bottles, glass, and paper litre most parts of Accra, Ghana. The often-unemployed young men task themselves to collecting discarded glass, clean them up and delivery them to local craftsmen who break them down for use beads.
Indeed, the Krobo beads industry does more for Ghana’s environment. Picking shells from the seashore can encourage litre removal habits, thus solving the issues of waste. Adding to that, is youth self-employment. Now, we can certainly compare this form of environmental solution to the traditional bead makers and traders in Southern Ghana’s Krobo Odumase. Here, both men and women make a living out of the trade beads.
The Ethical Trading of Ghana’s Cowries Seashells
In a similar fashion, seashells bring an equally significant ethical value to the local Ghanaian craft industry. For example, local unemployed youth tend to stroll along the Accra beaches where they pick up these seashells along the Accra beaches. Before they sell them, they clean out and then, sort the cowrie shells by sizes. After they have separated the cowries, they make neat holes through them and string them together ready to trade. It is common to find both fresh seashell peddlers and handcrafted jewellery makers approaching tourists with their collections.
Like I mentioned earlier, I bought my cowries shells back in 2019. It felt lucky to get hold of these smooth traditional shells as this was just before the pandemic, whilst holidaying in Ghana and to visit my family. Timing and luck if you believe in lucky charms. My sister and I sat at the beach enjoying the tropical breeze when this cowries’ peddler walked to us. Tall and dark, with strong long arms, he had strung together a nice selection of cowrie shells. ‘Madam’, you like dis one, these are good beads ooo’. (Now, please don’t ’laugh, I only get called ‘Madam’ in Ghana, never in Melbourne…Lol). I like helping local peddlers and traders in Ghana. This is how they make a living. Trading fair did bring a huge smile to his face, clean white teeth sparkling in the Accra afternoon, sunlight.
Altogether, Ghanaian tourists and locals like me (well I consider myself a Local when on holidays) do support the Ghanaian arts and crafts industry by paying fair prices for things they buy, this included these stunning natural shells. So much about cowries, but what exactly are they?
Cowries – are they the same as Cypraeidae, Family?
Cowrie or Cowry, the plural being cowries, is the common name for a group of small to large sea snails called Cypraeidae? To describe them, they have two sides. One side is bulged and smooth while the reverse, appears to have an open slit curving inward. They came in different sizes, shapes and colours. The ones I use in my jewellery making are the light brown- or cream-coloured small cowries. Cowrie shells are super lightweight.
So, now that we know about the ethics of traditional Ghanaian trade beads, and healing values hidden inside cowries, and now what the cowries are, what is your opinion? Have you made up your mind about Krobo beads bracelets with cowrie charms?
To reiterate my points, green Krobo beads are very beautiful. The colour green symbolises health, newness, and vitality. Green is visually pleasing and resonates well with nature. Krobo beads are handmade, and well-grounded in ethical fashion. So, buying Krobo beads makes you a conscious buyer. Also, it shows you care about your own health and that of our environment. They make a thoughtful gift for her and him. Blue beaded bracelets Their healing properties have long used in everyday lives of the African people. So, at most, they are safe to wear if not simply inspiring.
As an African jewellery designer, who was born and raised in Southern Ghana, I particularly like using real cowries’ shells in my handcrafted jewellery. If you have not already notices, I tend not to overuse these shells. The reason being, they are too special. What more, well, less is certainly more. Cowries are value loaded.
green Krobo beads are very beautiful. The colour green symbolises health, newness, and vitality.
The History behind the Use of Cowrie Shells in Ghana.
Cowries were used as currency, just the same way we use money now. Moreover, priests and traditional healers, used cowries in divination. To simply define, divination, it is the act of seeking answers not yet known.
By the same token, cowries represent luck and good fortune. The cowries shell is believed to bring abundance and fertility. Although today, cowries no longer serve as currencies, yet they still hold great symbolic significance in everyday life.
Now in what ways can you use cowries at home? Some people will swear by this. Pick a cowrie, place inside the centre of your left palm. Now, gently close your eyes, slowly bring your breathing to a calming rhythm. As you do this, visualise the very things you would want to see multiply in your life. Be it more health, more wealth or more love. If you believe, it shall come true for you.
Krobo Beads Bracelet with Natural Cowrie Shell Charms
I am Akos, proud to be a creative, and also very serious about human wellness. COVID-19 pandemic has taught us about the importance of taking care of our own health and wellbeing. If you have a thing for nature, head to the beach and search for your own cowrie shells. If, however this activity would not be practical for you, then shop with us at akosreative.com. Here, I have curated my high end Krobo beads bracelets and necklaces. The stretch Krobo beads bracelets come with cowrie charms, fibre tassels and some with the Ghanaian Adinkra Symbol. Find out about the Cultural Significance of Ghana’s Adinkra Symbols. Here, my Krobo beads bracelets come in in blue, green, dark and multi colours.
Before I leave you, I want to give my first ten buyers a special present with their $50 or more purchase. Please buy now because my jewellery stock is limited edition only. Find me on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube as Akoscreative. So, here Friend, May your deepest wishes come true for you this week, okay!. And Thank you so much for shopping with Akos. Sending your way, Heaps of Love and Healing. Stay Blessed. xxx
Akoscreative, aka, Lilian Abbew is a product of Sisterworks and Space2be, two of Melbourne’s vibrant social enterprises supporting the small businesses of Migrant Women and Refugees in Melbourne. You can also, shop Akos African Jewellery from QVWC Shop in Melbourne.