Beads are an integral part of African culture and traditions.  The beaders have a strong sense of color and pattern resulting in colorful designs.  I stumbled upon one beader - her friends call her Sue - who offers wonderful brightly hued earrings for her Nairobi, Kenya store,WaistGuru.  

The earrings are cleverly made with seed beads and wire. Contemporary style with an African flare!  My favorites are the ones with black and white borders. 

Why WaistGuru?  The name comes from Sue's other offerings - waist beads! A beaded version of belly chains.  These are worn in multiples. In colder climes, I think these waist beads will look awesome with plain sheath dresses. Much more colorful than belly chains.

WaistGuru is a wholesale store. Sue is offering an amazing 20% discount in addition to her shop bundled discounts just for readers of this blog.  You can use this code BEADINGGEM20.  Sweet.

There are many tribes in Kenya but the Turkana, Maasai, Samburu and Rendille tribes are most associated with beadwork. They live in the northern Great Rift Valley.  

Image Source : GISGeography

The beaded jewelry worn by women show their marital status, wealth, even the number of children they have. Men tend to wear beaded pieces to indicate their achievements. Colors of beads have significance. For example, white represents milk, and thus purity and good health. Blue is the color of the sky and water and hence this hue stands for sustenance and energy. 

Watch this short video on the traditional beadwork of the Turkanas.


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM