Ethnic Jewels

An appreciation of ethnic jewellery and adornment

Carved amber

A Happy easter to everyone! Here is a photo of some fake aged phenolic resin beads. These carved African beads originally made in Europe are a kind of Bakelite traded particularly to Mauritania in the early to mid 20th C. and carved there. The carved beads have become rare and I found these in Marakesh but they are suspiciously newly carved and offered at a huge price. Interesting how the market creates products..
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Comment by Charlotte Dakin-Norris on April 19, 2017 at 20:46
I see - I wouldn't want to wear them without a little soak in bicarb first then! Thank you for sharing...it would be all too easy to accept them as genuine without the heads up.
Comment by Cordelia Donohoe on April 19, 2017 at 20:35

Hi Charlotte, it is very difficult to tell the age of these beads as they were produced over about 30 years. I somehow do not think that any of these are the earliest Bakelite ones tho. I think the main thing is that the carving is more recent because one can see quite easily that they have had some black stuff added to the holes to age them, they did it quite badly s some of the holes and cuts are so clean and unworn. I would give an educated guess and say the black stuff might be old battery acid as that is what the Tuareg use to darken areas of silver etching in their modern pieces.

Comment by Charlotte Dakin-Norris on April 19, 2017 at 14:58

Very interesting to see! Am I correct that the dark red beads are old, but the lighter carved spots show that the resin has not oxidised yet, and therefore the spots are new?

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Created by Cordelia Donohoe Apr 10, 2017 at 4:03pm. Last updated by Cordelia Donohoe Apr 17.

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