Trade Beads Your #1 source for Trade Beads

Support the Artisans – Buy Fair Trade Beads

Fair trade beads are made in developing countries, mostly Africa. These beads take different shapes, sizes, styles, and colors because they are made by different organizations such as women self-help groups.

Fair trade beads are commissioned by developed countries such as the U.S. and Western European countries. This is done as an initiative by the west to uplift the living standards of people in poor countries. The view of the west is that this is better than giving handouts.

Those involved in the making of fair trade beads are free to sell them to other people. Some of the groups that make these beads even sell them online. However, commissions from wealthy countries are the major source of income. Those who commission the beads make money because labor is cheap, but not exploitative.

How Fair trade beads are made

Fair trade beads are hand made. This is partly because the technology in the countries making these beads is not sophisticated. Many people in the west find this to be an advantage because it means whatever they buy is unique. They are made from different materials depending on where they are made, but the most common material used is recycled glass. Recycled glass is used as an initiative to conserve the environment.

Another reason fair trade beads are handmade is that they are meant to mimic the original trade beads. The original trade beads were made in Europe and used by European traders as currency to buy services, slaves, and goods such as palm oil and ivory. Other trade beads were made in India and came to Africa through Arab traders. Africans were very enthusiastic for these beads and they used them as a means of exchange, as a store of value, for decoration, and as a status symbol.

Fair trade beads come in the form of necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets, rings, and clothing accessories. Those who commission the beads give specifications and the quantities required.

Organizations such as The Fair Trade Federation and Trans Fair USA supervise fairness in the trade to prevent big corporations in Africa and elsewhere from taking over the trade. To make sure that what you are buying is fair trade, you should look for certification by these agencies. You can also minimize the risks of buying fair trade beads by looking at the quality and by buying from well established websites and stores since they have a reputation to uphold.

There are many types of beads, some better than fair trade beads in terms of quality. However, there are several reasons you should buy fair trade beads. One reason is that you will be empowering the people who make these beads – they are mostly women. Societies where women are empowered thrive because the income is used to better the family and the society. This empowerment is reducing cases of early marriages and prostitution. Fair trade beads are made from recycled materials, meaning you will be doing your part to conserve the environment when you buy them. The price of fair trade beads is lower than the price of other beads such as Venetian trade beads, but the quality is the same.