The powder glass technique is practiced in the production of glass beads in Ghana and Mauritania, West Africa. The beads are formed from the powder of crushed glass that is placed in a mold or shaped by hand into beads with a core. The beads are never heated to a temperature high enough to fully fuse the glass particles; instead, they are sintered, causing the molecules to bond only at the edge, where they touch. This explains the often rough and matte texture of the beads. A form of this technique may have been employed as early as the seventh to 13th centuries. The most significant and highly valued powder glass bead form found in Ghana is the bodom, which probably dates from the 19th century. Such beads are considered to hold great power and to be of old age; they are expensive and revered by West African cultures. The bodom is a large bead, constructed with a thin shell of usually yellow glass that encloses a dark core. It is decorated with one of a small variety of patterns, usually a cruciform shape or with eyes, as is seen in this example. The dark core of the bodom sets it apart from other powder glass beads. The core was constructed with a wet-core technique in which frit was bound with some sort of organic material. There is considerable debate concerning the type of organic material used as the binder. Initially, it was thought to have been saliva, which is still used where wet-core powder glass beads are made in Mauritania. However, we cannot answer the question with assurance, because bodom beads of the type shown here are no longer being produced.