How to Make Maasai Jewelry

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Things You'll Need

  • Small glass beads

  • Small bowls

  • Beading thread

  • Scissors

  • Small beading awl

  • Metal wire (optional)

  • Wire cutters (optional)

The bright beads often complement brightly colored clothing.

From intricate earrings to simple ropes, beads play a significant part in the general dress of the Maasai women of Kenya. Thread small glass beads onto thin strings, traditionally made from local zulu grasses, and either weave them together or around an object to create bright jewelry. Bright primary colors are most common, accentuated by white and black beads.


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Step 1

Pour each color of glass bead into its own separate bowl. This will help you easily pick the beads up but will prevent them from mixing.

Step 2

Place light and dark colors beside each other for accentuation and striking patterns. Geometric shapes are the norm when creating jewelry.

Step 3

Cut the beading thread according to the desired size, adding on several inches for knotting. Thread the needle onto the string.


Step 4

Shape the metal wire into the shape you desire, if wanting a stiff necklace, bracelet or earrings, rather than draping strands of beads. Cut off any excess.

Step 5

Feed on the beads, picking them up from the bowl using the needle. Alternate between colors.

Step 6

Tie the thread onto the metal wire, if desired, to make a stiff piece of jewelry.