#ExcuseMeWhatIsThis: Recycled Glass Beads

Introducing a new series, #ExcuseMeWhatIsThis, in which we demystify some of the most asked-about items in the shop. Consider yourself decor-educated! 

“Um, what am I holding?” asks many a sheepish-looking customer standing at the Monroe checkout counter and holding a strand of colorful, slightly misshapen glass beads. “It's gorgeous. Is it a necklace?” 

Close. Anyone could be forgiven for thinking these cool-looking baubles are jewelry. Our strands of recycled glass Ghana beads come strung on raffia cord, and are just the right length to slip over your head.

But the cord is just a conveyance—a chic way that the artisans who handcraft them in Africa bundle them for sale. Also known as krobo or powder-glass beads, these pretty orbs are made from pulverized, recycled glass. Ghanaian artisans crush anything from soda bottles to seaglass to medicine vials, and blend the powders to achieve a vast array of different colors and textures. The material gets poured into bead molds made from locally dug clay, then fired at high temperatures to re-form the glass. The hole in the beads is traditionally formed with the stem of the cassava plant, a plentiful local resource. 

Some folks remove the beads from the raffia strands and incorporate them into jewelry, but these raw bead strands are popular displayed as decor, as we do at Monroe.  We love the texture, color, and dimension they add to a stack of books or a grouping of objects on a tray.

Our selection is ever-changing, but check out our current lineup of recycled glass beads here