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Bone Beads & Embellishments

Recycled bone beads and embellishments from Kenya

All across Africa, bone has been carved into beads for centuries. The tradition continues to this day. In Kenya, skilled craftsmen carve and shape recycled cow bone, then use a wax resist batik process to create wonderful African designs.

Our unique bone beads are made by our friend Kenedy Owiti and his co-operative style group of craft producers in Nairobi. They call themselves 'The Victorious Youth Group' - a fitting name for such a friendly and enthusiastic bunch of entrepreneurs.

They buy sacks of scrubbed cow bone (and sometimes camel) from the local abattoires. Then, they cut and shape the beads into various designs using electric saws and grinding wheels. Some beads are etched by hand, but the majority go through a batik process.

The makers paint melted candle wax onto the surface of the bone bead to create a resist. Then, they dip the beads into a solution of potassium permanganate, which tints any unwaxed bone dark brown. After washing off the wax resist, they polish the batiked beads to a shiny finish.

Bead size and scale

As a visual clue to the size and scale of our beads, we use a Star beer cap in our bead images. Why Star? Because it's the major beer of Ghana where most of our beads are made. Also, on the buy pages, we indicate approximate bead dimensions in millimetres.

Shaping recycled bone beads Nairobi KenyaShaping recycled bone beads: Nairobi, Kenya
Multi-buy saving - Mix 'n' Match

Any 10 for the price of 9
Applies to all £2.35 packs of beads. Your discount will be applied automatically at the checkout.

Bone Animal Pack
image for Bone Animal Pack
Guinea Fowl
image for Guinea Fowl
image for Elephant
image for Tortoise
image for Lizard
Large Giraffe
image for Large Giraffe
Small Giraffe
image for Small Giraffe
Long Snake
image for Long Snake
Small Snake
image for Small Snake
image for Zebra
image for Porcupine
image for Gecko
Ashanti Doll
image for Ashanti Doll
image for Hut
image for Maasai
image for Shield
Classic Mask
image for Classic Mask
Tube Mask
image for Tube Mask
Pipe Mask
image for Pipe Mask
Small Mask
image for Small Mask
Batik Pipe
image for Batik Pipe
Disk Star
image for Disk Star
Disk Spots
image for Disk Spots
image for Leaf
Giraffe Leaf
image for Giraffe Leaf
Zebra Leaf
image for Zebra Leaf
Batik Ball
image for Batik Ball
Two Circles
image for Two Circles
One Circle
image for One Circle
Small Carved Bone
image for Small Carved Bone
Medium Carved Bone
image for Medium Carved Bone
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