Tuareg Jewelry


     In the heart of the desert, the Tuaregs are craftsmen by excellence; they produce weapons for warriors, tools for agriculture and jewelry for adornment. Tuareg artisans voluntarily adopt these different roles with a wonderful facility. They are at once producers of arms, blacksmiths, jewelry makers, sculptors, warriors and even poets. The Tuaregs are renowned for their craftsmanship and especially for their silver jewelry which are real wonders.

    Jewelery has long been inspired by a wide range of main shapes, such as the rose, the star, the triangle and the diamond. A gradual enrichment will include progressively, the bow, the scallop, the leaf of acanthus, the palm, and so on. By superstition, the Tuareg women never wear gold. Tuareg jewelry is therefore all in silver. These jewels are part of the heritage of each Tuareg family. They have a symbolic value, but also a real value; because they also serve as savings and currency. Silver and copper make up the vast majority of jewelry. There are jewelry sets made with natural elements such as shells, stones or animal teeth. 


     The Tuareg jewelry has kept its authenticity throughout history. The tooling remains very simple, consisting of a sheepskin bellows, a mouth torch, a shears, a few punches, crucibles and files. To make his jewelry, the craftsman uses the two most common processes: molding and hammering. The most used materials are silver and copper. The amount of silver needed to make a jewel is melted in a small crucible. The ingot obtained is cut if necessary into different pieces for the realization of complex Tuareg jewels such as necklaces and pendants adorned with semi precious stones (agate, cornelian ...).

    Casting and hammering are the most commonly used techniques in creating jewelry. Each piece is hammered and the different pieces are shaped by the craftsman on a small anvil, an "iron stake". The embellishment is worked with engraving tool and in combination with other hand tools, these are skilfully manipulated to produce engraved and embossed geometric shapes such as circles, lines and Triangles, which adorn and illustrate most of the jewels of the Hoggar. (Hoggar designates famous and rich mountains in the heart of the Algerian Sahara, which is also a symbol of the extreme south of Algeria). 


    There are different types of jewelry specific to the region: Tasralt (silver pendant in the shape of a diamond that  is decorated with incised patterns and twisted threads. The lower edge is embellished with techachat)
 , Tineralt t,his jewel made by the artisans of the Hoggar as well as by those of Agades or other regions is more known under the name of "Cross of Agades". The shape of this silver pendant is quite special (rhombus with concave edges, provided with a suspension ring).
 , Khomessa (made of 5 lozenges and having magic attributes and carry it around the neck), Tereout n'azref (an amulet case) is very widespread among the inhabitants of the Sahara . It can be made in a metal as in leather or from silver and decorated with chiselled decoration.ihebgan (the rings)…

     These motifs, transmitted from generation to generation, are the stylized representation of dunes, particular places such as the Crab Claw in the Air, star-studded constellations in the path of caravans and they tell the Tuareg nomadic way of life.
Tuareg Jewelry(written by ARAB Sabrina)

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