Ethnic everything

As mentioned in my previous post, I thought you’d like to see some more from the Ethnic Jewellery book. There were so many inspiring images it was hard to choose, but these were some of my favourites. Starting next month on this blog I’m going to be featuring the handicrafts of one country every month, plus an interview with someone who works with artisans in that country, so this post is kind of like a sweeping preview of the armchair travelling (desktop travelling?) we’ll be doing in the near future!

I love the outfit this Turkmenian girl in 1960s Afghanistan is wearing – the out-there pattern! the colours! the little hat! – but it’s the obvious love between her and her dad that makes this picture so special.


Who needs diamonds? Moroccan brides from early last century had the right idea – they wore necklaces of chunky amber like this one.


The Turkmenian ladies don’t mind big jewellery either…


I think you could just about use these bracelets from Egypt as weights (and look glamorous at the same time).


These ones from Oman would do the same job.


And if you want a leg workout, these Indian anklets are a great idea.


In all seriousness – women actually wore some of these things in daily life, as far as I can tell. Goodness knows how they got anything done carrying around so much extra weight but at least they would never have had to pay for a gym membership.

Speaking of weight, this neck ring apparently weighs nearly 400 grams. If only the Swat Valley in Pakistan were still famous for jewellery like this rather than for conflict…


While neck rings don’t require such a leap of imagination to work out how they were worn, pieces like this ear jewel from early 20th century Indonesia are a lot more mystifying.

EJ214Apparently it is attached to the upper ear and the head cloth, but in this picture it seems to be defying gravity somewhat and there is no head cloth in sight. I love the look of it and want to try to make one for myself, although the most practical material I can think of to use is a pipe cleaner, which might not look quite as chic…

Speaking of chic, what a colourful way to stay sun smart! It’s a beaded hat worn by a woman from Sarawak.


And last but not least – the back ornament worn by this Miao woman in China. Now that’s attention to detail – would you wear an accessory that you personally would never see because it’s behind you? Especially one that is no doubt rather heavy, and kind of dangerous looking too?


Maybe not, but you can still admire it, along with the beautiful textiles that are being used to attach it to the woman’s clothing. So much inspiration in one outfit!