According to the Africa Facts Organization, “Jewellery in Africa is seldom just ornamental; rituals, religion and ceremonies play a large part.” With that said, there is such a large amount of influence that stems from cultural aspects and is concentrated in the colours of the beads.
They also serve as a form of stylistic expression as you can customize what colours you want to display, how many waist beads you want to stack, and what types of beads you want to use.
One of the most beautiful aspects of waist beads is the prominence of individuality when choosing the colours and materials of the beads. For example, Ghanaian girls may be presented with waist beads as a token of their “coming-of-age” into womanhood. They can also represent what class a woman is in, her economic status, and fertility.
Traditionally unmarried women of the Yoruba tribe wear an ileke, also known as waist beads or waist chains. Waist beads are romantic, fashionable and attract attention to the waist by making the waist appear slimmer and bringing out the curves of the hips. Modern-day wear includes decorative adornment and waist and weight management.
Which colour of our bead is your favourite?