Traditional glass beads of Ghana are often referred to as Krobo beads, the Krobo mountains being the main area of production. These beads are made from recycled glass.
Bottles and other glass items are first washed and sorted by colors. They are then broken into small fragments for making translucent beads, or pounded with a metal mortar and pestle, and sieved to get a very fine powder for making powder glass beads. Glass powder of different colors is obtained using ceramic dyes.
The origins of beadmaking in Ghana are unknown, but the great majority of powder glass beads produced today is made by Ashanti and Krobo craftsmen and women.
Krobo bead making has been documented to date from as early as the 1920s but despite the limited archaeological evidence, it is believed that Ghanaian powder glass bead making dates further back. Bead making in Ghana was first documented by John Barbot in 1746.
Beads still play important roles in Krobo society, be it in rituals of birth, coming of age, marriage, or death.
This video provides a detailed description of how these beads are made