Kiffa beads are rare, visually appealing glass beads named after the city of Kiffa from Mauritania, West Africa. Kiffa beads (also known locally as “Murakad”) were inspired by the Islamic period Fustat beads (Fustat was the old capital of Egypt) and antique Venetian millefiori beads.
The Mauritanian women who create these African trade beads use simple tools and materials, like pulverized bottles, different glass objects and recycled European glass beads.
The beads are handcrafted from glass that is crushed into a fine powder and mixed with a binder, such as saliva or Gum Arabic diluted in water.
The beads are handmade in various shapes, such as diamond, triangular, spherical, cross, cylindrical and conical. The colors of the beads are polychromatic and monochromatic.
Then, the beads are decorated with glass slurry, which is applied with pointed tools.
Once the beads are created, they are placed in a small metal container and are heated on an open fire without molds to help the glass fusion process.
The Mauritanian people believe that these beads offer protection against the Evil Eye, have healing powers and, depending on the pattern, even improve fertility.
Handmade Kiffa beads are amazing, and they visually stand out. Their unusual colors can help show off your style in a unique way, and that, on its own, can be very exciting. Despite their ancient style, these glass beads are modern, and they can be worn in lots of cool ways.
Please check out our collection of handmade jewelry using selected recent Kiffa beads with sterling silver, stainless steel and leather cord.