Ndebele Necklace

Women of Africa’s Ndebele tribe are known for their elaborate beaded necklaces. Across the pond in Europe and North America this pattern is called herringbone.

It’s an old design. Some say it goes back to ancient Egypt, where the stitch was used in gold chains. And it was used in embroidery and weaving long before beaders adopted it.

Whatever its name, the stitches are instantly recognizable — slanted rows of tilted stitches that form a zigzag pattern.

One of the things I enjoyed about doing this piece was the almost meditative mindset of repeating stitches.

I’d originally planned to include a large focal bead in the design but decided to stay with the basic stitch — the bright colors don’t seem to need any enhancement.

You can see more of my beadwork here.

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