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Ntaka Glass Beads

Recycled glass beads, handmade in Ghana

These colourful glass beads are made from recycled glass by our friend Yohanes Nahr in Koforidua. We love the variety of colours he produces.

As these beads are handmade, sizes and colours are not exact - all part of their rustic appeal.

Bead and pack sizes:

  • 35mm: Sold per bead
  • 15mm: 25g packs, approx 20 beads
  • 9mm: 20g pack, approx 65 beads
  • 7mm: 15g pack, approx 120 beads
  • Waist Beads 3mm: String approx 70-75 cm / 28-29 in., approx 240-250 beads

More: About Ntaka glass beads

About Ntaka glass beads

Meet Yohanes Narh: master bead maker

We buy all of our Ntaka glass beads from our friend Yohanes Narh in Koforidua, Ghana. We've known Yohanes for many years. There are other Ntaka bead makers around, but for colour and quality, Yohanes is the best.

Making Ntaka recycled glass beads

Yohanes, his wife Comfort and his daughter Salome work in the shade of an open-air shelter in their village.

Their raw material is recycled glass, which they find themselves or buy from the itinerant glass vendors at Koforidua's weekly bead market. They use all sorts of glass: bottles, jars, windows, almost anything made of glass.

To begin, they smash the recycled glass into sharp shards, which they then grind using a mortar and pestle into a fine powder.

Next, comes the colour. In order to achieve consistency for our orders, we have worked with Yohanes on a specific African Fabric Shop colour chart. Yohanes refers to this chart and his 'recipe book' before mixing the correct quantity of ceramic dye with the recycled glass powder.

Ntaka beads come in several sizes: 35 mm discs, 15 mm, 9 mm, 7 mm and tiny Waist Beads. Yohanes has a variety of clay moulds on hand for each size.

Filling the moulds with the powder glass and dye mix is painstaking work. A cassava stalk in the centre of each bead cavity creates the bead's hole. Yohanes won't waste even a gram of precious glass powder. He uses a feather to dust any excess powder back into his stock bowl.

When the moulds are ready, they are fired in a basic kiln. The kiln is a hollow mound of mud containing old car springs which form a 'grill' to support the moulds. Below the springs is a blazing wood fire: fire wood is the beadmaker's most expensive material.

The intense heat of the fire fuses the powdered glass into beads, still glowing orange as the mould comes out of the kiln. Yohanes uses a pair of awls to rotate and manipulate each bead in the mould, refining and smoothing its shape.

After the beads cool, they are polished in a concave stone using a light mix of sand and water.

Finally, Salome strings the beads for us to collect when we come to the village.

Yohanes and Comfort in their Ntaka bead workshopYohanes and Comfort in their workshop near Koforidua, Ghana.
 
Filling mould with recycled glass powderYohanes fills the mould with recycled glass powder mix and smooths away the excess with a feather.
 
Placing bead moulds into the kilnNtaka bead moulds in the kiln.
 
Salome polishing Ntaka glass beadsSalome polishing Ntaka waist beads.
 

Video: Preserving Ghana's Bead Culture

Removing tiny Ntaka waist beads from the mould: Koforidua, Ghana
Multi-buy saving - Mix 'n' Match

Any 6 for the price of 5
Applies to all £2.25 packs of Bottle Glass, Powder Glass, Ntaka Glass, Plastic, Shell and Bone beads.


Colour Mix Treasure Bag Savannah
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£9.30TBA013
Colour Mix Treasure Bag Desert
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£9.30TBA017
Colour Mix Treasure Bag Oceon
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£9.30TBA018
Colour Mix Treasure Bag River
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£9.30TBA014
Colour Mix Treasure Bag Jungle
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£9.30TBA015
Colour Mix Treasure Bag Night
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£9.30TBA016
15mm Mixed Colours
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£4.50BNT901
9mm Mixed Colours
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£4.50BNT902
7mm Mixed Colours
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£4.50BNT903
Waist Bead 3mm Mixed Colours
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£4.50BNT904
Mini Ntaka Colour Mix
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£2.25BNT905
Small Colour Drops Mix
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£2.25BPW907
Coral
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from £0.90BNT001
Orange
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from £0.90BNT002
Ochre
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from £0.90BNT003
Yellow
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from £0.90BNT004
Red Brown
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from £0.90BNT013
Brown
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from £0.90BNT014
Lime
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from £0.90BNT005
Pastis
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from £0.90BNT027
Green
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from £0.90BNT006
Pale Green
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from £0.90BNT022
Moss
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from £0.90BNT007
Dark Turquoise
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from £0.90BNT026
Turquoise
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from £0.90BNT008
Pale Turquoise
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from £0.90BNT023
Sky
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from £0.90BNT010
Cobalt
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from £0.90BNT011
Purple
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from £0.90BNT012
Black
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from £0.90BNT015
Grey
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from £0.90BNT021
White
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from £0.90BNT016
Cream
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from £0.90BNT017
Double Cream
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from £0.90BNT020
 
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