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Jewelry:Necklaces:Silver and Onyx Tuareg Necklace
Silver and Onyx Tuareg Necklace

Silver and Onyx Tuareg Necklace

$298.00 Sale Price:   $119.99

Price: $298.00 Sale Price:   $119.99

Item# :2000162

Qty: This item is out of stock

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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 group called inadan are people who work with fire and metal—blacksmiths. 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 99%-pure silver pendant is entirely handmade by the Koumama Family Cooperative in Agadez and Niamey, Niger. It's an example of a small "festival" pendant that would commonly be worn for marriages, festivals, and baby-naming ceremonies. The Koumamas are considered the best of the Tuareg silversmiths. Fine silver is formed into a thick sheet and then shaped into the pendant. Engraving is done freehand using a simple tool that looks like a sharpened Phillips screwdriver. The pendant is then set with two carnelian cabochons and hung on a strand of onyx and handmade silver beads.

Click the links above to view photos and video of Elhadji and the Koumama family of silversmiths by photographer Christian Peacock.

Handmade in Niger. 99% pure silver with silver and onyx. 19" long; 3"L x 2 1/2"W pendant. Hook-and-eye clasp.

Click the links above to view photos and video of Elhadji and the Koumama family of silversmiths by photographer Christian Peacock.

The Koumama family is famous for creating unique, high quality sterling silver jewelry using traditional Tuareg methods. Our necklace is made by men related to the late Mohamed Koumama by blood or marriage. His ninth child, Elhadji, is now the family patriarch. With the family having abandoned the nomadic lifestyle and settling in Agadez due to a 1970s drought, he was the first to attend school.

In the mid 1990s the Tuareg rebellion devastated the tourist business leaving the Koumamas destitute. Elhadji persuaded his family to use their sparse funds for him to go to Lagos, Nigeria, to seek sales. His seven trips in jam-packed minibuses bore fruit. He garnered increased sales on each trip and made valuable contacts with visiting Europeans, building what is now a successful international business. Today Elhadji's sons are both apprentice jewelers who hope to continue the family business.

Some call the traditionally seminomadic 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, and 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, their 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 semimatriarchal. Women have strong say in selecting (or divorcing) mates and in 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.


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Silver and Onyx Tuareg Necklace

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(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


one of a kind

By peterlight

from Gatineau, Qc, Canada

Verified Buyer


  • Striking
  • Unique
  • Well crafted


    Best Uses

      Comments about Silver and Onyx Tuareg Necklace:

      This is a stunning piece of jewellery, beautiful, solid, nice details considering the tools used to make it. Definitely an eye-catcher when my girlfriend is wearing it.

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