African Beaded Collar Necklace
This large, elaborate beaded collar necklace was handmade in Kenya by a member of the Maasai tribe in East Africa. The collar itself is leather, with rows of flattened and beaded seed halves alternating with solid rows of beads, all sewn on. At the top of the collar are two 1 1/2 inch long "horns" of beads on wires, representing the cattle the Maasai depend on for food.
There is a rectangular leather bib beneath the collar, with blocks of beads in solid colors. Eight long tassels, composed of dried seeds alternating with beads, hang from the bib, with a cowrie shell at each end of the strand.
The collar measures 9 inches in diameter; it fastens with upper and lower metal hook-and-eye closures. The bib is 4 1/2 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches top to bottom. The tassels are approximately 20 inches long, making the entire necklace almost three feet in length. It weighs about 10 ounces.
This beautiful vintage jewelry piece is in excellent condition, with one missing cowrie shell but no missing or damaged beads or seeds that we could find. The leather is also in excellent condition and still flexible. Far more intricate than the simple beaded circlets made for tourists, it's a gorgeous necklace to wear and a fascinating artwork for your wall.