Abacus Beadwork: Preserving Zulu skill

Abacus Beadwork, based in Durban, South Africa, is not only an empowerment company, but a “company with a big heart.” Employing all rural women from the surrounding area, they utilize traditional Zwazulu-Natal beading techniques to create modern designs that “delight the senses with their richness.”

Tube and Strand necklace (there are so many colors to choose from!)

Originally founded in 1985, by Jane Bedrod, the company has since been turned over to Mike and Hazel Bartlett in 2008. Despite the change in ownership, they still preserves the original mission: to empower local women through the art of traditional Zulu beadwork.

All the materials we use are sourced from the best available internationally: glass beads from Jablonex, Austria, and threads from Europe; which is nickel-free to conform with European standards – resulting in products which are fully guaranteed against manufacturing defects,” says owner Hazel Bartlett. To prove the high quality of their items, each piece comes with a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects!


Abacus has been practicing fair trade since in inception, and currently is working towards official certification through the International Fair Trade Organization. With their ethical foundation we are sure they will reach their certification in no time.

These bright beads are a great accessory to any outfit! Powerful visuals + positive pathos you can feel proud to wear.

Collar Necklace

Collar Necklace



Photo credit: Abacus Beadwork

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