Traditionally used as part of a ceremony to celebrate rites of passage for young women, the beads of Ghana were worn around the waist or legs. Modern fashions pay tribute to this cultural custom regarding transition by the more simple style of wearing beads on the neck or wrists.
To wear the beads has become a way of expressing pride for the country of Ghana. Each bead holds a story, and a history.
Times of Transition
There are many transitions a young girl goes through. Graduating high school, moving out, getting married… life moves fast and the changes seem to keep on coming. Each of these moments marks a pivotal time in her life. It’s a process of saying goodbye to what is familiar in favor of taking on new challenges and the excitement of a future unknown.
In Ghana, these occasions are commemorated with beads. A decoration to help ease the transition between the comfortable and the unknown. Something we can keep and hold so that we don’t forget where we came from, but embrace that change is good.
Over the Ocean
This necklace, called Over the Ocean, is just one example of a piece that embodies change. The weight of these large glass beads will sit heavy on the heart, supporting it while goodbyes are said and good times reminisced before a long journey begins.
Whether the wearer is traversing the ocean, or just a few states away, a necklace can be a soothing reminder that a friend is only ever a phone call away.
All of the large beads used in jewelry from Ele Agbe are handmade from 100% recycled glass. Bottles are collected from local restaurants and businesses and are taken to the artisan’s workshop where they can be ground into a fine glass powder that is later melted in a kiln to form the finished beads.
Not only do these beads represent change for the better, but the money artisans earn from creating these beautiful jewelry pieces goes towards creating brighter futures for themselves and for their children.
The group’s name (Ele Agbe) comes from a Ghanaian phrase meaning, “God is alive.” Even in this name, there is strength. And the strength comes through in the work of the artisan’s hands. Ghanaian beads represent strength and give strength.