Beads (called adiagba), made by ancient and modern Krobo artisans, are highly regarded in Ghana for their beauty, rarity, and durability. They are often given as gifts. Before the arrival of modern currencies, they functioned as a medium of exchange. Adiagba also serves as collateral for loans or mortgages on buildings and land. A pearl necklace can cost anywhere from ten to one hundred cedi, depending on the type and number.
How accounts are used
While many pearls are intended for everyday use only, some are family owned and have been cared for for generations. These family jewels are highly regarded and often revered in a way. They are never sold or displayed at funerals in memory of deceased family members, and sometimes only to show family wealth. These beads are mainly used in traditional puberty rituals for girls.
Although not performed by true Christians, the usual rituals of young Krobo women entering into womanhood are accompanied by a pearl presentation that is otherwise not observed. The girls are covered in familiar beads, some of which were used by their great-grandparents when they were young. The girls appear in public with little more than their expensive and precious adornments and attract a lot of local attention, especially from healthy single men in the city. The girls who dance rhythmically to the drums say: "We are ready for the wedding!" On this occasion, it is also possible for several families to show their wealth more widely than usual.
It is especially true that Krobos "says it with pearls". Different pearls have different names and meanings. Powa means "I challenge you", while Koli declares "you are no better than me" and Odonor says: "you are jealous because it is me and you are not". Omitiomete, who is more humble, simply says: "The result of my work". People travel all over to see famous people from different families roaming the city showing off their pearls.
The most colorful beads are suitable for traditional Krobos festivals and celebrations. Black or dark pearls are used to indicate times of sadness, while white pearls are used for happy occasions, such as B. When a baby is born, a new marriage is entered into or when one is recovering from the day. 'a serious illness.
Intricate patterns and fascinating colors
The craftsmanship of the local artisans is clearly reflected in the pearls. A closer look reveals that the beads can be almost any color - yellow, dark brown, red, and blue are highlighted. By skillfully mixing different colors, the artisans created patterns that resemble miniature drawers of molten colored glass against a darker glass background. Small designs that look like miniature pressed flowers, stripes, swirls, and windmills are common. The highly polished surface of the high-quality pearls sparkles and shines in the light. No wonder Krobos loves his pearls and uses them to express his thoughts and feelings. But how are they made?
Craftsman Krobo at work
The first step is to prepare an oven that is about 90 cm in diameter and 60 cm high. It is carefully made of heat-resistant clay of good quality from a nearby river. Several iron bars are placed on the stove, on the stove that lights the fire.
Then the craftsman creates different shapes from the same clay. These are compressed with a square of about 15 centimeters and a thickness of about 2.5 centimeters, which are drilled with holes with a diameter of about 6-18 mm. and about 12 mm deep. The materials used to make the beads are inserted into these holes. The oven and molds are allowed to dry in the sun. After complete drying, the molds are carefully polished with limestone so that the inside and edges of the holes become very smooth. When the local worker prepares the oven and the molds, he chooses his raw material for the beads.
The basic substance used to make pearls is called soda. It is usually yellowish in color and is made of frosted glass, silica or porcelain. The grinding takes place on a smooth stone and the powder is carefully sifted. The material for contrasting colors is manufactured in the same way.
The craftsman lightly moistened the base powder with a little water by pouring the substance into the holes on the clay tablets. Then glue a very thin wooden stick in the middle of the powder at the bottom of the hole. But how are the different designs made? Once the base material of the strand has been placed in the mold, four or more small holes are made in the wet powder around the stem at predetermined intervals. Stained glass powder is poured into these holes. This results in patterns and designs that make pearls so enticing and attractive. As soon as all the holes in the mold are filled, the tablets are ready for the oven.
The craftsman places the slats on the oven's iron bars, places very dry wood under the bars and lights them. Use the bellows to increase the heat to a temperature sufficient to melt glass, silica or porcelain. If you see that the molds only contain molten material, they hang quickly in the oven. Thereafter, the craftsman Krobo holds each mold, carefully so that it does not burn, and shakes, teeth or blows it skillfully. This is used to mix or match colors to form desired patterns. The tablets are then allowed to cool. The individual beads are then extracted from the small molds by inserting a sharp hook into the holes formed when the thin branches are burned when the surrounding substance melts in the furnace.
If you expected to see beautiful colored pearls at this time, your first reaction will be disappointing. But with a little hard work, that will change.
The worker first takes a rough, flat stone and rubs the raw bead to remove most stains and stains. Then gently take the bead, using a smooth smooth stone, to a high finish and polish. The finished pearl shines with delicacy and beauty. The job ends when you pay the bills.
The local craftsman can now relax and smile happy with a job well done. He will talk to someone, not with words but with pearls, as Krobos often says with pearls.