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woman working with wire beadwork

Beadwork Production

Maasai women have been famed for their beading for centuries, and Maa Beadwork takes pride in the quality and craftsmanship of our beautiful beaded pieces.

traditional colors strip

The art of beading has a long, rich history.

The very first trade beads, made from bone, clay, shells, wood, and seeds, arrived from India and the Middle East around 200 to 300 AD. In the 19th century, European traders brought great quantities of brightly coloured glass beads began to East Africa. 

 

Czech glass became famous for making exquisite cut glass for chandeliers and tableware, with tiny glass beads as a byproduct. Today, the finest quality glass beads still come from the Czech Republic, and the seed beads used by Maa Beadwork exclusively come from Preciosa Ornela, the finest glass bead company in the Czech Republic. 

 

Maasai women have been using these small glass seed beads for many generations; these beads and Maasai beadwork are now intrinsically interlinked.

Maa Beadwork only uses the finest quality materials in our products.

Along with our Czech glass beads, Maa Beadwork recently developed a West African jewelry range that combines the normal Maasai seed beads with West African beads. We enjoyed experimenting with combining our seed beads with recycled glass beads, camel bone beads, baule wax print beads, brass beads, fish bones, ostrich shell, and coconut rings in our beading.

 

With sustainability in mind, our brass buckles, D-rings, trigger hooks, and other brass accessories are produced through recycling in Nairobi by melting down old padlocks and hand-shaping them. The strong, water-resistant string used for leather products is handmade by our artisans from old plastic vegetable sacks.

woman creating beadwork

Maa Beadwork only uses stainless steel wire to ensure that the beautiful wire products will not rust over time. 

women sitting creating beadwork
woman creating beadwork

Carved wood products are handcrafted by a local carpenter from olive or cedar wood. We also source kitenge, batik and kikoy fabrics from Nairobi. 

traditional beadowork multiple colors
woman smiling creating bracelet

We source our high quality leather within Kenya from three different factories based around Nairobi: Alfa Rama, Leather Industries of Kenya, and Sagana. 

belts with sewing machine
notebook cover being made

We take pride in the craftsmanship of our products.

We meticulously hand-bead each product. Our pieces go through two thorough quality checks and are crafted with years of beading experience.

Maa Beadwork artisans constantly improve their skills through our specialized training program, ensuring the best quality product in both crafting and materials. 

creating beadwork guidebook
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