Teal Blue Ancient Excavated Nila Beads


Strand type

These rare and authentic excavated ancient beads are found in a number of archeological cites in Mali. They are often referred to as "Denne beads" after the city of Denne which was one of the first archeological sites where these beads were discovered in Mali. The exact origin of these beads are unknown, but they are believed to be imported via a well-developed caravan trade across the Sahara. These beads also bear a striking similarity to the so called Trade Wind, or Indo-pacific beads, and there is a theory that they may have been imported from India in the ancient times as part of the Indo-pacific trade. Other theories favor the Mediterranean as the possible source of these beads. While there is no clarity on their exact origin, archeological evidence places these beads to approximately 7-12th cent. AD, although a number of sources attribute them to earlier, Roman, period.

These beads are found in many colors, and the beads in this particular listing are of a beautiful teal blue, rare for these beads, with an occasional inclusion of darker blue, beige, or green bead on a strand. The beads come in 2 sizes: small 2-3 mm in diameter, and larger 3-5 mm beads, with an occasional 6-7 mm bead. Most of the beads are rondel, but the shapes do vary. Please consult the photos to see variability in color and size. The strands are approximately 22" long. The 2-3 mm bead strands have about 180 beads per strand, the strands of larger 3-5 mm bead strands are roughly 90 beads per strand. As any semi-transparent glass, the perceived color is dependent on lighting conditions. These photos were taken in bright studio light. The beads may look lighter n bright sunlight, or darker in less intense lighting conditions, but they are exquisite in any light.

These beads make excellent spacers, and are coveted by jewelry designers.

Most photos show multiple strands. The price is per strand.

Note: several strands are shown in some photos. This listing is for ONE strand

Weights and sizes are approximate.

IMPORTANT NOTE. In the world of beads, and especially ancient and antique beads, errors in identification are common. We do our best to research and classify our beads accurately, however mistakes are certainly possible. If you are a bead expert and notice any errors in description, we invite you to please contact us and let us know. We are always grateful for any new information. We also accept returns no questions asked. See our Return Policy for detail.

COLORS: Our photos are taken in different lighting in an attempt to show how beads look in different lighting conditions. We make every effort to show colors as accurately as possible. The white background photos are taken in daylight conditions. The black background photos are taken in the strong lab light, and would be representative of what they would look like in the evening electric light. Some of the photos are backlit to emphasize their translucency. Note that monitor settings strongly affect the way the colors look. What you see on your monitor may differ from what you see with a naked eye depending on your monitor settings.

WE COMBINE SHIPPING and will refund any overage. Contact us when placing the order and we will work with you to ensure the best available shipping cost.