Fana is an Amharic and Tigrinya of Ethiopia name meaning “light.” It describes this wondrous necklace which radiates light from its heart and soul – a brilliant brass pendant from Benin.
This handcrafted masterpiece has a beautiful patina and its smoothness derives from the wear it has experienced over its lifetime. The shield-like pattern is typical of the patterns found in brass jewellery from the region, and is mirrored in the smaller brass beads that are interspersed among the three strands of luscious green glass beads from Ghana. The West African brass cast beads are made using an ancient technique known as the “lost wax method” of casting that originated in Africa millennia ago. It results in each bead being completely unique in contrast to modern mass-produced casting methods.
The recycled glass beads are made in Krobo, in the eastern region of Ghana, using a method that has been implemented for centuries which involves baking fragments of recycled glass in moulds that are lined with a mixture of kaolin and water. The kiln in which they are fired is made from termite mound clay and is heated using crushed palm kernels, which burn at a very high temperature.
The hole for the bead is made either using a cassava plant stem that burns up during firing and leaves a hole or by using a small metal tool. Once cooled, they are washed using sand and water, then rubbed against a stone to polish them. Krobo glass beads have been used in ceremonies of birth, coming of age, marriage, and death for over 400 years in West Africa.
Gold plated ball spacers from Bali separate the glass beads, and give this piece added opulence. It is finished off with a handmade brass chain, clasp and a gold plated SHIKHAZURI logo bead.