Krobo beads are one of Ghana’s favourite art and fashion icons.

Ghanaian recycled glass beads are made out of discarded glass bottles, jars and broken window panes. These beads are called Krobo beads because it is the Krobo people in Ghana that make them. Krobos are part of an ethnic group from the south-eastern part of Ghana. They are highly regarded for their artisanal skills and have several micro and medium production plants in Krobo towns, villages and hamlets.

The entire Krobo bead-making process is hand made and labour intensive. Many people in this area learn bead making skills from childhood from family members engaged in the trade and some proceed further by engaging in apprenticeships. 

So what is the secret process?

*The rescued glass is sorted into different colours and sizes and washed.

*Artisans manually pound and crush the glass using wooden mortars and pestles.

*The resulting fine and coarse powder is funneled into specially designed clay molds and fired in a hand-made clay wood burning kiln.

*Ceramic dye is then added to the glass powder for colouring.

*The glass powder begins to melt at an extremely high temperature forming beautiful beads. A cassava stem burns out leaving a hole in each bead.

*Artisans hand paint the beads individually using small, pointed  sticks or needles to create unique designs.

This special technique has been used in Africa for centuries to make recycled glass beads.

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