and a couple more:
All I knew about these beads was that they were old, but after comparing them with images of beads I have seen on line, they appear to be from the 1900s or as late as the 1950s. People in West Africa, especially in Ghana, still make these beads as part of their local industry, but ours seem to match the older warn beads that have been around long enough to get roughed up.
For centuries, these beads have been made by grounding up scrap glass like old bottles or window panes and in some some cases Venetian glass beads, pouring the dry powder into molds, and firing the molds in kilns. In parts of Africa, beads were used as currency which meant they were used to buy and sell not just food and tools but slaves as well. At first I was glad my beads weren't old enough to be part of the slave trade, but there is something redeeming about taking a trinket representing the worst of mankind and using it for art, or at least jewelry.