It all begins here. This simple strand of beads began as a tradition in South Africa. Mothers would string these beads together and give them to their teething children to chew on to ease their discomfort. Those old necklaces were the teething rings of tribal Africa. And when the ladies of Beaded Hope told us about this tradition, the vision for a whole new line of Beaded Hope products was born.
The beads are called Tandkraal, which literally means “tooth compound” in Afrikaans. When the native South Africans tried the word out, they couldn’t quite get it and opted for calling the beads Karakatana instead. The beads have been smoothed and finished to enhance their natural beauty and come in colors of grays, creams and browns.
Finding the beads, proved another challenge. We navigated our way through the local market, without running around in too many circles thanks to our guide, Mighty, and eventually found the strands in a shop selling vuvuzelas, scarves and dish towels. Those basic strands already proved to be versatile and beautiful. We had no idea what would happen when the Beaded Hope ladies got their hands and creativity on the Karakatana.
Once they started working on the Karakatana designs, individual quirks and stories spilled out and into the jewelry itself. But it all began here, with one simple strand.