mad in pursuit notebook

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS

Amber Beads

amber beads mali africa

I am still in love with beads. I pulled out my favorite amber necklace for a chapter in my latest project. Oh, how magical they were! I promised to take some photos that would somehow capture their glow. Today was the day (maybe not as successful as I wished, but a start).

amber beads mali africa

These beads were collected in Mali, Africa — maybe near Timbuktu. (I bought them in New York City.) Amber — ancient fossilized tree resin — doesn’t originate in Africa. It comes from the Baltic region of Russia. No doubt the newly fashioned beads were packed with Venetian glass beads in Europe and transported across the Mediterranean, then across the Sahara, during the 19th century — maybe traded for gold.

I fell in love with them because of the artful repairs. Many of the beads had been broken, then mended with silver “staples” — worn treasures, each with their own story that I will never hear — that I will only feel through my fingers.