The Secret Jewelry – Waist Beads

by Joybelle Malcolm.
(Marietta, GA)

The Secret Jewelry - Waist Beads by Joybelle Malcolm  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal


A type of jewelry I enjoy making are waist beads which originated in Africa.

They were worn under women’s clothing and not to show to anyone but their husbands.

However, over the years, fashion has taken over and many women wear them for show.

Please know that wearing waist beads have nothing to do with body structure; they are for all sizes/ages.

The Secret Jewelry - Waist Beads by Joybelle Malcolm  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal


I use stretch cording like Stretch Magic, to string on the beads/charms.

I make sure to take into consideration it stretches from putting/taking them off and changes in weight.

Therefore, I make it at least 5″ less than the measurement requested.

Joybelle Malcolm
BelleJoy Jewelry
BelleJoy Jewelry Boutique on Facebook

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  • Fascinating, Joybelle! I had never heard of waist beads – thank you. I just LOVE the beautiful, uplifting colors you chose in the bead strands here. And I have to say, you had me at “secret jewelry”. 🙂

  • Sheila says:

    I enjoy learning about jewelry customs in other countries. This fascinates me. Thank you for sharing with us. You did a great job!

  • Thanks so much for your comments, I really enjoy making these custom orders. If anyone is going to make these, please remember waist beads are now worn as visible jewelry such as to the beach or with low rider pants, etc. If using for beach adornment, then please be mindful of the type of charms being used (if any). I tend to leave them off.

  • Keriki says:

    I love the waist beads you made for me! I still have them!

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