Ethnic Jewels

An appreciation of ethnic jewellery and adornment

New Moroccan Faux Amber Bead Necklaces

Since I recently read about a new class of faux amber beads from Morocco, I have been looking forward to seeing them in real life.

This past weekend I attended the Bead Society Bazaar in Los Angeles, and one of my friends who sells beads had several necklaces of these beads.  (I am assuming these are the same as those being discussed, since I have not seen these beads before.)  Although I thought they were expensive, I was interested in buying a necklace, and selected the one that was the most like actual Baltic amber in color and diaphaneity--being butter-yellow.  My friend gave me a very decent price break, for which I was grateful.

I haven't returned home yet, so I have not pursued any tests--but I will do this when I have an opportunity.

In the meantime, I did snap a few photos with my cell phone, that I will post here.

The other necklaces were darker, brown or reddish--some with somewhat different shapes.

Sarah, please confirm if these beads are those you have discussed here.

Be well.  Jamey

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Comment by SARAH CORBETT on October 29, 2013 at 13:57

hi Jamie, i have been aware of this type for at least 2 years.

here is a photo taken By Sue Bloom whilst travelling together and visiting bead making villages

And another of jewellery made in the villages for the souks of Marrakech which have the similar beads. The artisans tend to mix several styles of faux amber into each necklace to add variety of tone.

here is an example of a mixed strand

lots of different Faux styles on one strand.

some vintage some new..... all destined for the souks where many will be offered as real and antique!

I believe that this is a similar strand to yours. yours seem to have been given the varnish and dust aging treatment too!

Comment by Jamey D. Allen on October 29, 2013 at 12:35

Hello Sarah,

I watched the video, but I did not entirely understand the process.

In Ghana, plastic beads have been made at least since the first time I went there, by Hausa women, who cut up and melt plastic buckets that they buy in the marketplace (that they refer to as "rubber"). I bought these beads in 1998.  On my return trip in 2005, I was a couple of days late, and missed the opportunity to see this work being produced, though I've seen video.  It's actually a lot like candy-making--that is itself based on glassworking.  The Moroccan process has some aspects in common.

For how long a time have you been familiar with the beads that compose the necklace I just bought? I suspect I've seen some, but not close enough to examine, and not for a long period.  Perhaps a year or so.

For a very long time I have wanted to go to Morocco.  Also Mali.  It would be a great experience, I'm sure.  Something to ponder.

I hope you have a great time.  Safe travels.  Jamey

Comment by SARAH CORBETT on October 29, 2013 at 9:18
Hi Jamey,
I am aware of the beads you show, I know the village where they are produced. And as you correctly state these are available in a few colours.
I believe that they are plastic beads.

Have you seen the video footage on this site of faux amber bead making? These are made from cassette cases ! The cores are made this way, and then the beads are often dipped in coloured resin to give a glossier finish.
I will have a little research time in Marrakech next week and shall gather some pics of various faux amber beads .
The beads I mentioned previously look like a very dry strand of genuine amber .
I will try to record and purchase some of these too.
It would be wonderful if you were able to join me in morocco someday to see these processes.
Warmest wishes. Sarah
Comment by Jamey D. Allen on October 29, 2013 at 9:08

Hi Sarah,  I'm surprised.  Are you familiar with the beads I show, from Morocco?  As I view it, they are rather like the reddish beads you show in a structured necklace I've seen here.  Jamey

Comment by SARAH CORBETT on October 29, 2013 at 8:48
Hi Jamey, these are not the beads I was referring to, I will be in morocco next week, and will try to find some.
Comment by Jamey D. Allen on October 29, 2013 at 7:13

These two photos present two strands of faux amber from Turkey--said to be polyester--that I also bought at the Los Angeles Bead Society Bazaar, yesterday.  They clearly copy traditional prayer beads, and have a fairly realistic-looking color and texture, resembling somewhat creamy-yellow Baltic amber.  They were not expensive.  Jamey 

Comment by Jamey D. Allen on October 29, 2013 at 7:10

Comment by Jamey D. Allen on October 29, 2013 at 7:09

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