Blue Kiffa Bead, Imitating Cowry Shell
This very cool bead was made in Kiffa, Mauritania. It is very old and was made as a female fertility charm to resemble a cowry shell, mainly by women artists. Historically, Kiffa beads are very important as its ancient technique (dating to 1000 years ago) made it one of the oldest glass bead-making processes in Africa, which was purely African in origin. This bead is around 200 years old, possibly older. 12-17mm tall x 9-13mm wide x 6mm thick with a small .8mm hole. For more information check out issue #36 of Ornament Magazine.