Stylee Fridays: Gambissara Beads Import

May 29, 2009


Talking to photographer and jewelry designer Coreen Simpson a couple of weeks ago really got us thinking about adornment and what was going on in our own jewelry boxes (i.e. not enough!), so it all made perfect shopping sense when we stumbled upon Jula Dukuray's African bead den at the Chelsea flea market. Together with his brother Baba Dukurar, Jula runs Gambissara Beads Import with piles and piles of amazing beads, artifacts and rare tribal fabrics. Dukuray has been running his business for the past 18 years, traveling across Africa, taking his pick of the most colorful, beautiful pieces along the way. The brothers are from Gambia in West Africa but the geographical range in their collection touches all corners of the continent—there are delicate strings of metal beads from Ethiopia, chunky glass necklaces from Ghana, antique slippers and bronze bangles from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria. Some of the most stunning things Dukuray collects come from the Kuba tribe in Congo, cloths and tunics covered in black and white maze patchwork, the kind of strikingly bold geometrics that Keith Haring would have really appreciated. The real prize though, a huge Kuba mask, was hanging from the ceiling. Thankfully, the triangular beaded necklace and heavy royal blue string of beads (pom-poms are an optional, DIY addition) that we ended up buying were a lot easier to take home on the subway. Still, a fully handcrafted monochrome Conogolese headpiece is something we'd like to integrate into our lives one day very soon.

Gambissara Beads Import is at the Chelsea Flea Market, 112 25th street in New York most weekends. For appointments outside of the market call 917 238 4041.

















From The Collection:

Stylee Fridays
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Stylee Fridays: Gambissara Beads Import