Bohemian Late 19th Century Glass "Conus Shell" Trade Currency


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    • Bohemian Late 19th Century Glass "Conus Shell" African Trade Currency
    • By the end of the 19th Century, British Colonial Government recognized the high value placed upon the Conus Shell Currency in Traditional African Cultures, and commissioned factories in Bohemia to make the colorful glass replicas. Over time, these colorful and inventive "imitations" became as highly valued and prized as the original Conus Shells themselves. Although they circulated in Africa over decades, they are now extremely rare, especially examples in excellent condition as the ones we have listed here.
    • Bead size approx. 30mm x 50mm
    • Strand length approx. 28"
    • Natural shell disc sections obtained from the genus of Conus Virgo or Conus Turbo were highly valued and used as trade currency throughout Africa and Asia for centuries.
    • Shell currency and beads were considered highly prized possessions and became Heirloom Beads passed down through generations. Heirloom beads of imported glass and shell became potent symbols of wealth, rank and authority in their respective communities.
    • The beginning of the African shell trade were believed to originate in Central Africa, and traveled along the Congo River as a rare and important trade commodity. These precious shells found their way to the furthest coasts of Africa and as far inland as sub Saharan countries of Mali and Mauritania and the Highlands of Ethiopia. Conus Shell adapted into beads and pendants were so highly prized that they became high level trade currency, especially revered in dry areas of Mali and Ethiopia.