Most African fashion accessories are instantly forgettable. There are exceptions-like our African gele, no matter how you tie it on your head. Likewise, our African beaded jewelry, which are very relevant to any African woman especially during her wedding day, are prevalent now than at any other point in time in the history of African fashion. But why is the beaded jewelry an instant African fashion hit. Frankly, I would like to believe that the way it curves the neck of a woman is a prime reason for it’s success. Also, it’s colors, I am forever impressed by the colors of some of these beads, alongside rich, lush gemstones that help to make the neck of a woman glimmer. But colors aside, maybe it’s the fact that it’s all handmade. I can happily report that most beaded jewelry in Nigeria are handmade, one bead after the other. I want to believe that the tenacity and creativity of these beaded jewelry makers account to a large extent for the continued presence of many beaded jewelry and their evolving character. Some of them have moved beyond the multi-strands to now incorporate fringes or create collar necklaces that are just fascinating to look at. Beaded jewelry remain a fashion hit at most festive occasions, especially weddings of course. Thousands of beaded jewelry are worn by so many women at every occasion, and I am sure that other variations of beaded jewelry with their own take on creativity will emerge in the decades to come. But who are these beaded jewelry makers? First, less knowledge has been accumulated on the producers of these beaded jewelry and we do not really know much about the entrepreneurial side of jewelry making in countries for example like Nigeria. It would great to extend thinking about these makers to see how they have contributed to making beaded jewelry an instant African fashion hit in many countries. Furthermore, I especially look forward to a period when beaded jewelry can and should be use to help elevate young people out of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Given that beaded jewelry has the power to transform outfits while making a big impact no matter what people wear, maybe it can also become a transformative platform for poverty alleviation. In the meantime, here are the latest pieces worn by some African women to illustrate why African beaded jewelry remains an hit in Africa.
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