Jewelry holds immense significance as it encompasses a diverse range of values that extend beyond adornment. Jewelry serves as a reflection of social standing, economic prosperity, and cultural identity, while also playing a vital role in religious and spiritual practices.
1. Used for Body Adornment
People use jewelry to adorn their bodies whenever they go for functions.
Different colors and types of beads are handpicked to match the costume for various functions.
In West Africa, such adornment brings out their heritage because most of the beads are made in West African.
2. Status Differentiation
Beads are used to show identity. Some beads are precious than the others.
Therefore, the kind and the type of jewel worn indicates the person’ class.
In West Africa, chiefs and queen mothers put on different type of beads while the ordinary person puts on another type.
Again, the type of beads worn also differentiate one ethnic group from the other.
3. Waist Beads Arouse Men
Men are sexually aroused on seeing beads on their partner’s waist.
They look attractive because of their bright colors, shapes, and the materials they are made of.
Their beauty accentuates a woman’s shape, hence making her partner sexually active.
4. Body Development
It is believed that, neck beads, waist beads, and ankle beads develop and shape those parts of the body they are worn.
In West Africa, where waist beads are widely used; women wear beads around the waist to develop and shape the hip.
5. It Plays a Role in Foreplay
During foreplay, the man spends time playing with the beads of his partner.
This can help arouse the woman before sexual intercourse and it will help prolong sexual excitement.
6. Exchange of Value
According to history, jewelry was used as money for the exchange of goods and services.
During the time of Western Sudan empires such as old Ghana, old Mali and old Songhai, beads were brought to exchange goods such as slaves, salt among others.
7. Jewelry Serves As a gift
Jewelry items or product are bought and presented to people on special occasions like birthdays, naming ceremonies, puberty stage, weddings, graduations to show appreciation and honor.
8. Object of Wealth and Power
The royal family, extended and the nuclear family and other prominent people in some societies in West Africa uses precious and valuable jewelry during festivals and occasions to show how wealthy, rich, great and powerful they are.
This will also help the society to be aware of the position they occupy.
9. Jewelry is Kept as Property
People keep jewelry as property just like other items such as houses, cars, land and money.
Beads like Koli, Zagba, Bota, Merede and Ahenepa Nkasa are kept and stored as property.
They also hired to be used for important occasions such as birthday, puberty rites, outdooring, festivals and funerals.
10. For Decoration and Entertainment
Beads and other jewels are used to decorate bags, shoes, belt, hats, dresses, etc. beads are also used on some musical instruments which are used for social, cultural and religious purposes.
11. Object of Worship and Religious Purpose
It is believed that jewelry like beads have certain religious importance. Beads have a special therapeutic property which passes to the wearer.
In the traditional religion, the priest uses bead for prayers and incantation (talisman).
Christians mostly the catholic uses some form of decorated beads for their prayers (rosary) and the Muslims use the taskbar for divine purposes.
Other musical instruments used for religious purposes are made with jewelries.
12. For Communication Purpose
Beads tell a lot about the wearer. They convey messages of wealth, occasion, emotion, environment, type of people, festivals and culture of the people.
13. Creates Bond Between Partners
If foreplay can connect couples on deeper level, then, waist beads will even help increase foreplay in sexual relationships, making couples get to connect with each other more.
14. It Makes Men Respect a Woman’s Body
Wearing waist beads can make your partner spend ample time touching your body, this will make him respect and appreciate your body.
15. Serves as Accessories for Special Occasions
Women can keep different types of beads, ranging from color, size, material type etc. for different purposes on occasions to spice up their love life with their partners.
16. It Can Determine Body Size
Since waist beads are arranged on threads causing them not to be elastic, a woman will quickly be aware of her body size when her beads tighten her.
17. Makes Women Appreciate their Body
Jewelry especially waist bead brings a sense of self-awareness to a woman. It makes women feel proud of their body.
Social Importance of Jewelry
- Body adornment
- Status differentiation
Economic Benefits of Beads
- As wealth
- Exchange of value
- Income generation
Religious and Cultural Uses of Beads
- Symbols of offices
- Charms and talisman
Socio-cultural Values of Beads
- Body adornment
- Status differentiation
Relationship Values of Beads
- Attracts men
- Increase foreplay
- Creates bond
Factors to Consider When Buying Beads
Before you buy beads or any type of jewelry, you should consider certain factors to make the right choice. Here are seven factors to look at when buying beads.
1. The Occasion for The Use of The Beads
The occasion determines the kind of bead that should be worn.
Beads worn during occasions such as wedding, outdooring and festivals are different from the ones worn during funerals.
2. The Size of the Wearer
The size needs to be taken into consideration when ordering waist beads.
This is because women vary in weight. So, the beads have been designed with this in mind.
You should know your waist size and order waist beads accordingly.
3. The Shape of the Jewelry
Shape defines the total surface area of the product.
Triangle, rectangle and squares shapes are suitable for chiefs and men whiles oval, round and cylindrical shapes are good for women.
Many local and online stores offer different shapes of waist, neck and ankle beads.
4. Weight of the Bead
Light weight beads are suitable for children and sometime women whiles heavy weight ones are for men especially chiefs and adult.
Sometimes, people who underwent surgery or would wear beads all day round prefer light weight beads or jewelry.
5. The Color of the Jewelry
Colors depend on the occasion and the wearer.
Colors have their own meaning and where it can be used. For example, red means danger, blue for peace and yellow means wealth.
6. The materials used for the beads
Jewelry materials can be gotten from different sources been plant, animals, minerals and synthetic.
The material to be used depends on the functions and who is going to use it.
Precious materials are used to produce jewelry meant for dignitaries and important personalities whiles less precious materials are used for ordinary people.
If you are allergic to certain materials, you should inquire before purchasing.
7. Texture of the Beads
The quality of a surface, whether smooth, rough, coarse, hard or soft should be taken into consideration.
Jewelry made for the adornment of the body must be smooth to make it adorable.
For decorative purposes jewelry product can be either smooth or rough depending on the wearer.
You should ask the seller or manufacturer about the texture if you order from online.
In all, jewelries are expensive accessories that add value to your body and life as a whole. Jewelry design and marketing serves as employment to many people.
It also throw light on African culture.
Ashiagbor, J. E. (2019). Jewelry Theories & Practices for Senior High School. Ho, Volta, Ghana.