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What are Africa Trade Beads 淺談非洲貿易珠

What are Africa Trade Beads

Africa Trade beads were used in place of currency by European explorers in West Africa and North America from the Age of Discovery in the 16-19 century. They were manufactured by Europeans to be used in bartering with native populations for gold, ivory, and the beaver fur essential for making the top hats worn by gentlemen of the period. Indigenous peoples saw far more value in these colorful attractive beads than in any foreign currency. The hand faceted blue bohemian beads, which were traded for fur with Native Americans in Alaska and throughout the Pacific Northwest remain highly valued.

Production process

These glass beads, known as “trade beads” were produced mainly in Venice, Bohemia (Today, Czech Republic), and the Netherlands. These beads were made of a variety of things including bone, glass, stone, and more. Glass was the most common material for these beads.Once the beads come out of the kiln, holes are punched into them while they are still hot. The beads are then left to cool in the mold. Once cool, the beads are then hand-painted and left to air dry before going back into the kiln to set the paint. Once the beads have finished their second trip to the kiln, they are hand strung in groups.

The Value of Africa trade beads

Most of these beads were created from Venetian glass at the Murano factory in Venice, though some were made in what today we call the Netherlands or the Czech Republic. Traveling various trade routes, these beads were dispersed in Africa and North America and Asia, and can still be found all over the world. The specimens found in Africa, where trade beads have been prized for generations, are sais to be the highest quality.

The fact that these small glass beads could be used as money for hundreds of years and travel all around the world is overwhelmingly romantic. Each handmade beads is different and has its own unique beauty. The endurance of their value is processes will survive even a hundred years, and be valuable enough to trade. These always have a timeless charms with trade beads. They have long been valued, traded, and adored by millions of people around the world.


「非洲貿易珠」(Africa Trade Beads )在16-19世紀的歐洲殖民擴張時期,歐洲探險家在西非和北美用來代替貨幣,用於與當地居民進行商品交換,用於製作黃金,象牙和海狸皮,這些都是製作當時期紳士所戴的頂帽所必需的。 土著人民在這些色彩斑斕的珠子中看到的價值遠遠超過任何外幣。手工切割的藍色波西米亞小珠,在阿拉斯加和整個太平洋西北地區與美國原住民交易皮草,受到高度重視,後人稱之為非洲貿易珠。


主要在威尼斯,波希米亞(今天的捷克共和國)和荷蘭生產,由歐洲人製造,這些貿易珠由各種各樣的東西製成,包括骨頭,玻璃,石頭等,而玻璃是這些珠子最常用的材料。珠子從窯中出來,在它們仍然很熱時就會打孔。 然後將珠子在模具中冷卻。 一旦冷卻,然後將珠子手工塗色並風乾,然後再回到窯中以設置油漆。當珠子完成了他們第二次到窯的過程,就會成群結隊串起來。


這些貿易珠大部分都是在威尼斯的Murano factory用威尼斯玻璃製成的,有部分是今天的荷蘭或捷克共和國。 根據各種貿易路線,這些貿易珠分散在非洲,北美和亞洲,並且仍然可以在世界各地找到。 在非洲發現的標本,其中非洲貿易珠子已經珍藏了幾代,是最高品質的,

珠子是在我們最早的文明中交易的最常見的產物之一。 他們長期以來被認為是寶貴的財產,並且經常被其他寶藏所掩蓋。 幾千年來,每種文化都製造了珠子,並且在西方人帶來進口商品之前很久就在非洲生產用於貿易和商業的珠子。

事實上,這些小玻璃珠可以用作錢數百年,每個手工製作的非洲貿易珠都不同,有自己獨特的美感。 它們的價值的持久性是過程將存活甚至一百年,並且有足夠的價值進行交易,當中包含巨大的永恆魅力,它們長期以來受到世人的重視,交易和崇拜。