Friend’s Great Grandmother’s Red Bead Necklace – Where is it From?


I have a very old Native American bead necklace, that has hand tooled (hammered maybe?) brass pieces that hang on the end. It also has four sea shells on it and two small shells clasp the necklace together. It is 18″ long. As you can see in the photos I’ve attached, it is in excellent condition.

My friend’s great grandmother gave it to her. She didn’t like it and gave it to me.

I would like to sell it. However, I don’t know where to start to accomplish that.

Can you help me? If not, do you know who might be able to?

Thanks. I look forward to your reply.



Bead Necklace II Bead Necklace III Bead NecklaceHi Tracy,

I don’t recognize anything about this necklace that would indicate it was Native American made.

It looks like it could be from the Caribbean which is a broad term for over 700 Islands located to the south of Florida and which include Aruba, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Saint Croix, The Bahamas, Antigua, Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominica, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint John, Tortola, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Because this area is relatively close to the US and has its own native peoples, it is not uncommon for people to think of items from this region as native american, but they are not.

The term Native American refers to Indians from the United States.

I’d suggest an online auction such as eBay.

Best of luck,


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6 thoughts on “Friend’s Great Grandmother’s Red Bead Necklace – Where is it From?

  1. Name: Adrienne Logan

    Comment: Those look like red pony beads, which are quite collectible if they are old and in good condition. I would do a search on eBay on vintage, antique, old, etc., pony beads to get a starting price point.

    With the cowrie shells and the brass pieces, might this be old African beads, possibly trade beads? I’d also search on African trade beads and jewelry to look for comparable pricing… This would go with Paula’s comment that they might be Caribbean… Good luck! 😉

    Time: Monday May 20, 2013 at 11:52 am

  2. Hi,
    This necklace is from Africa. IF the red beads have a white core they are called “white hearts.” The cowrie shells are African cowrie shells. The nail shaped pendants are likely from Ghana or Ivory Coast, they are one of many shapes of brass items cast in Africa. These particular ones are not very common today. A web site called is very good for identifying African and collectable beads. Although beads like these show up on ebay as native American collected this entire strand came from Africa.
    The red “white heart” beads are used by Native Americans but these were collected in Africa..

  3. Hi

    yes I agree they are African. We get them in Aussie that people have donated to the charity shops.

    They are very nice beads though they put a lot of work into these things.

    We also get the wood hand painted ones too. Most have the shells and the brass dangling pieces,

  4. I’d like to add to my quick answer.
    Your grandmother’s necklace is a better than average example of African beads collected in the 50’s to 80’s often by tourists and returning Peace Corps volunteers..This size of white heart is no longer easily found for sale in African markets. There are newer ones recently imported into Africa from France and Czech. (I sell those today in my bead business.) Yours appear to be made in Venice Italy possibly as long ago as 1890 to early 1900’s. The rose colored ones tend to be the older ones. Bright red ones were made after 1920 or so.

    I can’t find any details on the brass nail shaped pendants. I have a few in my collection but don’t know which tribe or country made them or what was the specific purpose.

    It’s a nice strand of collectable African beads.


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