The Tuareg are a nomadic Berber tribe who live in the North African Sahara. They were once known as the Blue People of the Sahara because of the indigo-dyed turbans and veils that would stain their skin. They're known for their engraved silver jewelry; the Tuareg subclass called Inadan means people who work with fire and metalblacksmiths. Using only simple hand tools and implements that could be easily transported on camels (screwdrivers, nails, safety pins, files, charcoal and handheld bellows) Tuareg craftsmen have plied their trade for centuries.
Our pendant is entirely handmade by Tuareg craftsmen who are part of the Cooperative de Musée National in Niamey, the capital of Niger. Sterling silver is formed into a thick sheet and then shaped into a cuff. Engraving is done freehand using a simple tool that looks like a sharpened Phillips screwdriver.
Handmade in Niger. 6 3/4"L x 1/2"W.
Traditionally semi-nomadic, some call Tuaregs the "Blue People" due to the indigo used to dye men's deep blue tagelmusts (turbans). The romantic image of tall regal men in flowing robes with only eyes visible riding great white camels is true, but it's only a fraction of the Tuareg story. Most Tuaregs live in northern Niger with some in Mali and Algeria. Drought and civil unrest led many to abandon the nomadic herding lifestyle and move to cities. Despite trading tents for mud brick houses, visits to the homeland hone a keen sense of heritage and culture.
Three ancient Tuareg classes, nobles (camel herders), vassals (goat herders), and slaves (now outlawed) still exist, but are inverted. Herdless nobles and vassals who resisted education now lead meager city lives while educated slave descendants are now largely the more prosperous class.
Tuaregs are semi-matriarchal. Women have strong say in selecting (or divorcing) mates, family decisions, own family homes and solely inherit property. While rearing their youngsters is their first priority, Tuareg women also have small business enterprises including the manufacture of leather goods.