Nata Kristin of New York based itaitoimports specializes in "artisan-made and rare vintage beads. Our focus is hand-made, sustainability, and authenticity when sourcing beads from Africa, Afghanistan and Tibet."

It's a wonderful fair trade service as it allows jewelry designers to purchase beautiful and unique handmade beads from artisans in far off places.  This in turn provides artisans with a means of support. Itaito sources their handmade beads directly from the makers. 

Shown above are gorgeous recycled glass saucer beads from Ghana. They are made by the Krobo tribe using centuries-old techniques. They recycle all kinds of glass bottles. These are crushed into powder which is then placed into clay molds. The latter is then fired in a simple clay kiln. They created the bead holes as soon as the molds are removed from the kiln. The beads are then hand polished using just sand and water!

Watch the recycled glass bead process in this video by the Ghana Mission Fund. 

The Krobo tribe artisans are a marvel at their craft. These beads have a swirly pattern made from clear  blue and amber glass.  I agree - there is a sea glass look about them.

These vintage Krobo beads in blue, red and white look like they were made from small broken up pieces of glass rather than glass powder.

Some of the African beads are antique - hundreds of years old. These rare green and blue glass beads below are also called Ancient Roman Glass beads. Many of the beads shown  are between 300 - 500 years old. They were excavated from a site in Djenne, Mali. No wonder, ancient beads like these are harder and harder to find these days.

"Djenne was an important trade route during 12th-18th centuries and the Djenne people would bury their these beads in clay pots in various hidden sites. These buried treasures were known as their "banks", as these beads were used as a form of currency."

Even older are these carnelian beads, estimated to be 1000 -2000 years old. These were also excavated from Djenne. There are some newer carnelian beads in the strand shown here.

Aren't these yellow beads striking?
Beautiful chartreuse yellow Hebron beads found in West Africa, in rare small sliced shape, some beads are more green, than yellow. These were made in Hebron over 200 years ago and traded in Kano, Nigeria in late 1800s - early 1900s, so they are are also known as Kano beads. These were made from sand and salt from the Dead Sea and beautifully aged with variations in sizes, shapes and moss green color.

Another outstanding collection in itaitoimports' store are the African metal beads. I love the rustic style of these hand forged and hand polished recycled white silver beads from Ethiopia :

Also from Ethiopia are these beautiful recycled brass bicones :

Well worth your time to browse  itaitoimports and look for treasures!

Before You Go:

 This blog may contain affiliate links. I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation. 
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM