How it is made: Nupe powder glass beads

The powder glass beads used in the new Minku men’s bracelets are made by the Nupe people of Nigeria, from glass that is broken, powdered, mixed with pigments, and then recycled to form beads. They look like Millefiori beads but are so much sexier for want of a better word, for these reasons:

– relief. Millefiori beads are flat but with Nupe beads, the patterns are slightly raised against the surface

– The irregularity of each bead. I find irregularities more exciting than perfection.

– The colours. Sometimes Nupe beads come in colours like Egyptian blue and electric yellow, colours that blow my mind away.

So in finer detail, how are these beads made? On the site ‘Friends of Bonou’, the writer tells about the making of Nupe powder glass beads:

For the powder glass beads, cassava stalks are put in the centre of each hole in the mould and the powdered glass is carefully put into the hole around the stalk. The cassava stalk will burn in the kiln and leave a hole. These beads are the most time intensive because they require the artisan to scoop tiny amount of powder glass and design the bead within the mould before firing with powder ceramic dyes mixed with the powder glass so that the design is baked into the bead.

You can read the full article here.

I say ‘men’s bracelets’, but I own one too, and wear it every day. I like that it’s understated; people only know it has a solid 18kt gold bead if I tell them.

You can find a selection of our glass bead bracelets here. They are combined with beads made from precious metals: solid 18kt gold (that you can smelt and reuse if needed), and sterling silver. As always, you can also place your order using Bitcoin.

Each bracelet comes in a 100% leather pouch lined with aso-oke fabric. Like so:

MinkuHomeAug2014

Love,
Minku

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