Collection of antique red Agate beads in very good condition.
Found in Mali, but probably produced in Cambay, India, between XIV and XVIII century and then exported to Africa.
Carnelian, also known as “red agate,” is a semi-precious gemstone—a form of chalcedony tinted by iron oxides. It occurs in a range of colors, from milky white to to an earthy red-brown. Carnelian has been used since ancient times as a decorative element in jewelry. Some cultures also saw magical qualities in the stone, believing it could instill courage in battle, promote fertility and cure illnesses.
Historically, carnelian was mined in India or Brazil and then traded around the world. It made its first appearance in Africa when Arab traders began carrying the stone with them on their trips across the Sahara. Carnelian fetched a high price in the bustling trading centers of West Africa and remains a sought-after commodity there, especially among the Fulani, Wodaabe and Tuareg peoples.
Some of our beads have traveled at least two continents, and have graced numerous owners. Small chips, corrosion, and pitting are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.