African Waist Beads

Some of us are already seeing the signs of Spring. Of course I am busy at work with my new Spring and Summer designs. And there is one old African style that just won’t leave me alone. It’s waist beads. I have designed and sold many in the past but it has been over 6 years since I sold the last design. 2012 was a year of remembering what I forgot.

I promised myself I would follow the spirit and entrust that my intuition would lead the way and open new faucets of my creativity. African Waist Belts are one of the major themes. As soon as I have completed the designs I will post a blog entry. Below I have shared a brief history of African Waist Beads, it’s significance in African cultural life and contribution to High Fashion style worldwide today.

The Yorubas in Nigeria and Egyptians of Egypt were the first to introduce this type of adornment to the world. The usage of waist beads were to represent the material and spiritual aspects of day to day life in Africa.

1) They were a symbol of success, affluence and spiritual well being. The beads were symbols of a young girl becoming a woman.

2) Waist beads were worn to evoke erotic appeal from the opposite sex. For example some women wear them and dance for their husbands.

3) In Islamic culture they are most commonly worn under the clothes.

4) These beads were also used as a type of birth control for girls.

5) For a woman to wear waist beads it accentuates her feminism and beauty. For a girl it represents her chastity.

6) All over Africa beads symbolize wealth and these beads represent a woman’s wealth when worn.

7) In other parts of Africa and the Diaspora these beads are worn for personal pleasure, to protect the wearer against evil spirits and to facilitate spiritual healing.

8) These beads were believed to help a woman keep her shapely figure after having children and are worn by a variety of tribal women for that purpose.

9) Waist beads are the foundation for the design that everyone knows today as the belt. Wow!

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