Ceramic beads by Kazuri in Kenya are handmade by probably one of the oldest craft collectives in Africa. The fledgling business began in 1975 - an idea of Lady Susan Wood. She had started a coffee plantation on what was once Danish author Karen Blixen's (Out of Africa) land.  She also wanted to do something about abject poverty she saw particularly among severely disadvantaged single mothers who had no other source of income.  From that small beginning, the Kazuri beads are renowned and are sold worldwide.

That international trade is more vital than ever before.  In the past, Kazuri could also count on tourist sales as they are located near where safari tours take place.  But the country has lost 25% of the tourist trade in 2015 alone due to the terrorist attacks. These have had an impact on Kenya's investment climate and contributed to job losses.

Kazuri is Swahili for small and beautiful.  And that they are. Paulette Walther of Kazuri West sent me the beads you see above. Such rich and glossy colors!  She actually asked me if I could make her a particular and very popular style of necklace using her favorite beads. And so I did. As you can see, it is very easy to put together using rings and wire wrapped bead loops.

For Paulette

The style is a loose variation of the sautoir (French for long necklace), a classic design which has been around for well over a century. They date back to the Belle Époque era (1871-1914). There are actually 2 styles of sautoirs - a rope kind with tassel ends which is simply knotted in the front and the single focal usually with tassels. The popular Downton Abbey series have several examples of sautoirs designed by Andrew Prince.

I actually made my own patterned wire for the gold version.  The tutorial for this design and how I patterned the wire for the round frame will be out later this week.  I used a tool which allowed me to mark the wire in just 1-2 seconds.  What was it?  Hint : no hammer was used.

If you'd like to $75 worth of Kazuri Beads from Kazuri West to make your own jewelry designs,  please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.

SPECIAL OFFER! There are also free beads for every order! Leave a note to say where you saw this special offer in the comments section of your Kazuri West order and get  6 free beads ( 20.00 value) of Paulette's choice. Minimum order of $25.00. This offer expires on February 15, 2016.

Email subscribers need to scroll down the post they receive, click on Share Comment and enter your comment. Pick Name/URL. If you don't have a store or blog, leave the URL blank.

This giveaway is international. 

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments.

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, February 8 , 2016. I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!


The final photographs were captured on my iPhone 6S with the camera+ app and the Modahaus TS320 photo studio in natural light.  Tutorial photographs are taken in artificial light in my windowless basement studio.  In- app photo editing as well as quick use of Adobe Photoshop Elements were used for final tweaks.  Find out more about my How to Photography Jewelry Webinars. 

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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