I bought these trade beads in Rissani,a historic old ‘frontier’ town in the Sahara desert that was built on top of the 7th century town of Sijilsmassa - and trading post for camel trains travelling from sub-Saharan Africa to Marrakech, Fes and the coast. Once they traded slaves, gold and spices but now the town, with its fantastic old weekly souk trades donkeys, sheep, goats and some camels behind the old mud brick walls. Under the slatted shade in the souk you can see mountains of dates being traded, spices, perfumes, clothing, shoes, and everything you can think of. There are metalworkers making tools, carpenters making doors and shelves using designs seen in Moroccan homes for centuries. You can get your hair cut, have a potion mixed and haggle for yours hearts desire. My favourite spot is a secret hidey-hole behind a heavy curtain where big old trunks of jewellery tempt me to buy.
I bought 3 trade bead necklaces after quite a long haggling process here and they are incredibly beautiful. This strand has 44 beads ranging in size from 3mm (4) up to the long ones that are around 3cms. Some real beauties in this gorgeous strand.Threaded on twisted raffia.
Beautiful old beads found their way into an old chest in the Saharan town of Rissani and then in my case to Australia...and who knows where next.