Dating to c.1750, this African slave trade bracelet is of a rarely-found design!
Bracelets such as this were highly prized in Western Africa from 1600-1860. The style and make of this kind of bracelet was indigenous to most western African tribes, and was utilized not only as jewelry, but as portable wealth. During the era of the slave trade, European traders would meet with African tribesmen and barter for all manner of goods for bracelets such as this. Three bracelets of this size would purchase a cow. Six would purchase a musket. Eleven would purchase a wife - or a human being. It is difficult for us to conceive of such a thing today, but it did happen. However, the passing of generations has weathered the reputation of jewels such as this. Today, these bracelets have become highly desirable for collectors of both African-American historical artifacts and tribal jewelry.
This is an early style of bracelet that was worn on the upper arm of high-ranking tribesmen. This bracelet measures 5 3/8" outside diameter x 4 1/4" inside diameter x 1/4" thick. It is decorated at both ends with a solid flattened cone, and the sides are decorated with a wonderful spiral motif. This bracelet has been carefully smoothed by the maker, and retains an untouched, original deepest brown patina. This bracelet weighs 89 grams, and can be worn on the upper arm of a lady with small-to-medium bones. (I am slightly small-boned, and this bangle slips right over my elbow to middle of my arm.)
This is a substantial bracelet that is suitable either for display or wear. It is in intact, museum-grade condition, without cracks or damage, and authenticity is guaranteed. If you collect African tribal jewelry, this early example will make a superb addition to your collection. I will have listed one other trade bracelet this week, but not another like this - do not miss it!
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