Traditionally made from various kinds of glass, crystals, bone, metal and wooden beads, waist beads have a rich history and meaning that reaches back to Africa. African girls and women wore waist beads for a variety of reasons including but not limited to signifying rites of passage into womanhood,  proof of fertility and sexuality or to heighten fertility and sexuality. Waist beads were worn to shape the waist, for posture and even track weight loss/gain. Mothers gave their daughters waist beads when the girl started her period to symbolize her passage into womanhood. In some cultures waist beads signified a woman’s social status based on the types of beads she wore. Women wore waist beads for protection, beauty, sensuality, confidence and so much more.

Today we continue the traditions of our mothers before us by wearing waist beads and we do so intentionally for our own personal reasons. Anyone wearing waist beads should reverence and pay homage to the deep roots connected to them and the African women who paved the way for such a powerful symbol and statement of self love, beauty, femininity and self-acceptance.