Men and women have been wearing jewellery for ages to beautify themselves. Not just among the civilized masses, but even among the tribal people these are used widely.Tribal people use metal, wood and beads to make their jewellery. These are varied in shapes and sizes and range from very large to even tiny ones. What is popularly sold in the markets as tribal jewellery are originally made by tribal designers and technicians who pair their knowledge of tribal designing with styles, patterns and old design techniques.
Varied designs in tribal art
Also known as ethnic jewellery, the designs are related to nature, animals and even tribal objects like bows and arrows or daggers. A wolf’s paw, flowers, amulet, sun, moon, horns, turtle and many more such designs form the basis of the tribal design jewellery. These are engraved on jewellery made of sterling silver, bones, beads, copper, wood and various other things to give that earthy feeling. The market for such products has increased with tribal jewellery online sites. Ethnic tribal jewellery is worn to reflect the culture, beliefs, functional habits and status. It is posh and mostly restricted to certain classes because tribal jewellery is not shiny and all bling which many people love. It reflects sombre and bold taste of the wearer. Authentic designs are very different from the mass scale produce in the stores in terms of the essence and charm.
Original vs. Mass productions
Original pieces have a different charm that of being made and collected from different parts of the country. They will rarely have the same size and dimension or shape as the mass produced one. The usage of gold is sparse and only done for any particular part of the deign body. Stones like turquoise and lapis lazuli can be found quite frequently. Tribal jewellery is worn by men and women equally, and there is no stringency as to where these might be worn. The ornaments worn can change place and a pendant can become a headpiece.
History of tribal jewellery
Jewellery amongst tribes has been used to indicate the status of the wearer. For instance only the royalty was supposed to wear lapis lazuli; marriageable young girls would wear gobbah in Turkmen culture and married women would change the gobbah for egme, a silver headband. Women living in the lands between Tibet and Burma would wear neck rings that would make their necks look taller and each year a new ring would be added to the bunch.
Why wear jewellery?
Jewellery apart from decorating the self or reflecting the social class or caste has various other purposes. Protection of the body is possibly the first and foremost reason and remindof the armours worn by the ancient women warriors while fighting alongside the men. The placement of the jewellery is noticeable and aims to protect the vulnerable body parts. In Algeria, the women wear spiked bracelets which protect them from unknown men during dances. The usage of jewellery as talisman and amulet to protect the body from evil forces is quite prevalent.