We recently launched horn strands on Dakota Stones. These beads are hand-etched and imported from the Philippines, where they are sourced from unused horns of carabao. Carabao are a cousin to the water buffalo, and are primarily used as a food resource like cows, but are also domesticated in the Philippines for farmwork and dairy production in rural areas. They are often mistaken as the “national animal” for country’s like Guam and the Philippines, but there is no official source to back up this statement (though they are beloved animals). They are related to the endangered wild water buffalo from similar areas, but they themselves are not endangered.
Buyers do not need to worry about any cruelty associated with the removal of horns on livestock, either. Our supplier takes pride in sourcing materials from unused parts that would otherwise have been discarded as waste. This way we can reduce scrap materials that are usually only good for things like gelatin or bone meal, and turn them into works of art. Since Carabao are a major portion of the food percentage in the Philippines, there is plenty of unwanted material.
Bone and horn beads have been used almost as long as humans have been wearing jewelry, since they were relatively easy to carve with simple tools and easy to source. They pair well with other natural and earth-toned beads and wood beads.
Unlike some bone beads from other carriers, these beads do not have a distinct odor to worry about, either.