Artisans in Kiffa and several other towns in southern Mauritania have produced a unique kind of powdered-glass bead for several generations. Commonly called "Kiffa beads," they generally copy the designs and forms of ancient beads, as well as more recent European examples. This article discusses their history, manufacture and relevance in Mauritanian culture. While production of the beads recently ceased for a time, several women have again begun to make them though the new varieties are not as inspiring as their predecessors.
The Society of Bead Researchers is a non-profit scientific-educational corporation founded in 1981 to foster historical, archaeological, and material cultural research on beads and beadwork of all materials and periods, and to expedite the dissemination of the resultant knowledge. Membership is open to all persons involved in the study of beads, as well as those interested in keeping abreast of current trends in bead research.
Opper, Marie-José and Opper, Howard
"Powdered-Glass Beads and Bead Trade in Mauritania."
BEADS: Journal of the Society of Bead Researchers
5: 37-44. Available at: