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The first known African bead is "disk-shaped ostrich eggshell" which is expected to date around 10,000 B.C. Ostrich eggshell beads are used even today by variety of groups in Africa including Kung San of Kalahari Desert in South Africa, Dinka in Sudan and Turkana in Kenya for making personal ornaments.
African beads are undersized, perforated and often round. They are made of many materials but glass beads in particular are most common elements of African ornamentation.