It won’t be massively wrong to say jewelry has existed for as long as humans have. The first recorded instance of jewelry being used was in the Stone Age. And while we don’t know exactly what the people in the stone age considered jewelry to be, maybe a bone necklace, we do know that jewelry has a long history. Ever since then, when humans evolved, so did the jewelry. From the jewelry adorned kings and queens of the early civilizations to the renaissance and today, jewelry has always found a unique place in human history. And a large part of that is due to the existence of tribal jewelry.
So, what exactly is tribal jewelry?
As their name suggests, tribal jewelry is jewelry that has been traditionally worn by people belonging to a particular tribe or culture. This jewelry usually had some sort of meaning or symbolism attached to them and was often used as a way to show social status within the tribe. While the exact origins of tribal jewelry are unknown, it is believed that they started becoming popular in the early days of human civilization.
One of the most popular types of tribal jewelry is necklaces. Necklaces have been worn by people belonging to various tribes worldwide for centuries. They were often made from materials like bone, wood, shells, and even teeth. The necks of many African tribal women were often adorned with beautiful beaded necklaces. In some cultures, necklaces were also used as a form of currency. In fact, in some tribes, the size of a woman’s necklace indicated her social status.
Tribal bracelets and necklaces are other types of jewelry popular among various tribes. They were often made from materials like bone, wood, and stone. Like necklaces, they were also used as a form of currency in some cultures. In some tribes, bracelets were also used to indicate social status.
Some well-known examples:
1) The Maasai tribe of Kenya and Tanzania are known for their beaded necklaces and bracelets. The colors of the beads have different meanings and are often used to indicate age, social status, or marital status.
2) The Navajo people of the southwestern United States are known for their beautiful turquoise jewelry. Turquoise is a very important part of Navajo culture and is often used in ceremonial jewelry.
3) The Zuni people of the southwestern United States are known for their intricate needlework and stone inlay jewelry. Zuni jewelers are some of the most skilled in the world, and their jewelry is highly sought after by collectors.
4) The Himba people of Namibia are known for their beautiful ochre-colored skin and ornate jewelry. Himba women often wear necklaces, bracelets, and anklets made from shells, bones, and other materials.
5) The Inuit people of Alaska and Canada are known for their beautiful ivory and bone carvings. Inuit artists are highly skilled in carving intricate designs into small pieces of ivory and bone.
Tribal jewelry is not just limited to necklaces and bracelets. They can also include earrings, rings, hair combs, and tattoos. Tribal tattoos are a very popular form of body art among many cultures. They were often used to mark important events in a person’s life or show social status.
The tribal jewelry of today:
What made tribal jewelry so popular is its boldness, color palette, and the feeling of unity you would get when seeing someone wear it. One of the best things about tribal jewelry is that as generations changed, tribal jewelry kept up with the time.
Nowadays, you can find all sorts of modern interpretations of tribal jewelry. They are often made from more contemporary materials like silver, gold, and even diamonds. While they may not have the same meaning or symbolism as their traditional counterparts, they are still very popular among people who appreciate bold and unique jewelry.
Things to pay attention to when buying tribal jewelry:
When buying tribal jewelry, it is important to pay attention to the quality of the craftsmanship. Tribal jewelry is often handmade, and each piece is unique. It is important to buy from a reputable dealer who can provide you with a certificate of authenticity. It is also important to be aware of the materials used in the jewelry. Some materials like ivory and bone can be illegal to buy and sell in some countries. It is important to do your research before buying any tribal jewelry.
Tribal jewelry is a great way to add a unique and bold statement to your wardrobe. They are perfect for making a fashion statement or for simply adding a touch of personality to your look. Whether you are looking for traditional or modern interpretations of tribal jewelry, many great options are available. With a little research, you can find the perfect piece of jewelry to suit your style.
If you’re interested in trying out some tribal jewelry for yourself, there are plenty of places where you can find them. You can often find them at art fairs, craft shows, and even online. Just make sure that you do your research so that you know what you’re buying is authentic.