ABOUT THE COLLECTIVE
The Diadia Craft Collective was created to support and empower local artisans in a remote San, or Bushman, community in the Kalahari Desert. In January 2018, seven talented craftswomen came together to create this collective and help enhance the socioeconomic status of the artisans, their families, and their communities, and to maintain the ancient San heritage.
Ostrich eggshell beads are considered the first beads humans ever made, dating back over 50,000 years, with the San Bushmen women being the last people to make these beads as part of their tradition. Ostrich eggs are a symbol of good luck and fortune to the San Bushmen of Botswana. We hope you enjoy the jewelry, and the rich culture they carry to you from the Kalahari Desert.
There is little opportunity to access the greater market and bring these beautiful items out of Botswana. Sales from this jewelry help the San artisans find their place on the global market, and sustain and develop the rich, historical techniques used by the San. Connecting these local artisans to the international marketplace can have the power to transform not only their lives, but also the community through a sustainable livelihood.
Each ostrich egg shell bead is made by hand using ancient San methods. First, the egg shell is broken into small pieces, which are then clipped or tapped with an object to make it slightly rounded. Then a hole is drilled through the center of the piece using a sharpened metal wire attached to a stick.
The pieces are then strung onto a nylon string so that they fit tightly against each other, and then the string of shells is rubbed against a stone to create the smooth rounded shape. The beads are then made into different designs, as seen in the Shop. Off-white is the natural coloring of the shell, but brown or black beads are made by roasting the shells or rubbing it in the ashes of the fire. No ostriches are harmed in the process!