Thursday, 25 September 2014

O N   t h e   J E W E L   T R A I L

Amber, gold, silver 
wound around,
Tooled, cast, threaded
Jewels to be found..

In hues warm
and silver glow,
beauty to behold
A story to know.

The ancient has always held a special charm for me. Be it architecture, clothing, jewelry, art or craft, most from the by-gone eras seems meticulously detailed, aesthetically charming and well designed. Silver, Amber, motifs, meanings are some things that I find fascinating - and all can be seen in traditional jewels. 

So off we go on a jewel trail to Africa - a vast continent dotted with unique ethnic cultures. Antique African jewelry  encompasses a range of materials and styles. Be it leather, bone, beads, metals like gold, tin & silver, or, stones especially amber, one gets to discover all. Each region's jewelry has a distinct style and if one looks closely, it speaks of the culture, traditions, craft skills & environment of the place it comes from.

Jewelry from Marrakesh is rich - enameled gold coupled with precious stones - in consonance with the lavish architecture & lifestyle of its people. The Masai people make their jewels out of beads & natural fibre, again a connection with their tribal roots. The 'Hamsa' is a recurring motif in North African jewelry. An open palm, believed to defend its wearer from evil, it has been beautifully integrated in various forms of adornments.

Here's a  collection of pieces that I loved and would like to share with our readers today :)

 Image: Left: Berber Hamsa, silver, Morocco; 
 Right: Hamza Pendant, silver, Morocco, early 1900's

 Images (clockwise from left): - Silver shoulder necklace, late 19th cen; - brass earrings, Sudan, 19th cen; - silver earrings

 Image: - Necklace with enamelling

  Images (clockwise from left): - Berber necklace in silver & amber, Morocco; - Pendant, Ethiopia, early 1900's; - Fibulas, silver & enamel, Morocco

 Images: Left: - Necklace, Morocco;    
Right: - Necklace, glass beads & silver, Egypt

 Images: Left: - Wedding necklace, Somalia, silver & amber, late 19th cen;
Right: - amulet pendant necklace, Morocco

 Images: Left: - Necklace, tin w/ gold plating, Ethiopia, 1967;    
Right: - Earrings, brass & glass bead, Sudan, 19th cen

  Images (clockwise from left) all from Morocco: - necklace w/ hand of fatima pendant, gold w/ enamelling; - Earrings, gold & emerald, 19th cen; - Earrings, gold w/ enamelling, 17th cen

 Images: Left: - Necklace, silver, leather & Amber, Ethiopia, mid 18th cen;  
Right: - Telsum beads, silver, Ethiopia

 Image: necklace from Masai people, glass beads & natural fibre

  Images (clockwise from left): - Falcon collar, gold, carnelion, feldspar, Egypt, late 17th cen; - Pendant, gold, Ivory coast, early 20th cen; - Fibulas, gold, Morocco

 Images: Top: Blue faience necklace, Egypt, 664 - 343 BC; 
Below: Collar, faience, Egypt, 1345 BC

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