Jewellery has been made and worn in Africa as far back as has been documented. Whether being worn on a daily basis, being somewhat roar and basic or being worn for a special ceremony when the body adornment is more elaborate it has its own significance in African history. Necklaces, pendants, bracelets, bangles, earrings and other types of tribal regalia are a few of the many forms that African adornment would take. Beyond their use of self-adornment pieces also have cultural significance. For example, jewellery may indicate the wealth of an individual/individuals, power and standing within the society.
Our jewellery collection
Through-out history Africans have used the materials that were readily available to them in their area/region to create their jewellery. Some of the most commonly found and used materials would be ivory (not so widely used today!), carved stones, bone, seashells (cowries), both animal teeth and hair, eggshell (typically ostrich), wood, amber and glass (small beads). Glass beadwork jewellery is probably the most well know and recognised. At one time beads produced in Africa were referred to as trade beads as for centuries they were used as a form of currency. Trade with other people began to happen which then increased the types of materials available to craftsmen who then could create even more beautiful pieces of jewellery.
Craftsmen continue to produce traditional beadwork unique to their own tribal regions today. Producing such beautiful beaded jewellery still is a major source of income for many tribal people of Africa.
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