Conus Triangle Beads, red glass. African Trade. Czechoslovakia 50x30mm, Pkg 1. b11-rd-0915
- Regular Price
- Sale Price
- Regular Price
- Unit Price
Available Stock: 8
Conus Triangle Beads are beloved glass imitations of traditional Tanzanian and East African shell beads, known as "Vibangwa" in Swahili. Crafted in the Czech Republic region, each one consists of a flat side with semi-circular grooves, and a smooth back. These pieces date back to the slave trade and measure approximately 50x29mm, with a 1.5mm hole size. Perfectly preserved, they may display minor signs of wear.
The story behind these beads. Peter Francis, Jr. wrote in this collectors guide, Beads of the World (1994): "Conus shells were introduced by Arab slave traders, and became valuable currency. In East Africa they became important status symbols, worn as whole discs or as discs cut in half in the 1870s the British destroyed as many of them as they could in in British East Africa, because of their presumed links to paganism. When crime greatly increased due to the lack of currency, they had porcelain copies of the shells made in Bohemia with serial numbers on them. In time the Bohemians took the design and made glass copies...". In a photo caption, Francis refers to the "ever-imitative Czechs". These beads resemble the tops of the Conus shells cut in half. The read bead has chips around both ends of the perforation. Otherwise the beads are in excellent condition, even with wear. The long side of the the triangular bead, where the perforation if found, measures 48-49mm. The shorter sides are about 35mm. The beads are about 10mm thick.