Handmade Silver Jewelry
Great Art for a Great Cause The Story of Tuareg Jewelry
Handmade Silver Jewelry is fine silver jewelry made by artisans of the Koumama family. Once a nomadic tribe, today the Koumama family lives in Agadez, a historic city in Northern Niger. They are famous for creating unique, high-quality, fine silver jewelry using only simple hand tools and traditional Tuareg methods passed down for 25 generations. The goal of this tribe is to preserve the art of the Tuareg and create sustainable jobs for the silversmiths.
Although “born into the trade”, Koumama men serve extensive apprenticeships under the watchful eyes and guidance of older and more experienced family members. They begin by making the simplest of designs often to see them scrapped and re-melted. Only after years of painstaking effort do they begin to make jewelry deemed suitable for sale under the Koumama name.
Some items, like crosses, are made using the ancient “lost wax” method. This approach involves shaping softened wax, applying a clay mold, firing it using goat skin bellows, shaping the basic cross, engraving and polishing it until it’s worthy of being offered for sale.
Those offering Tuareg Jewelry are advocates of “using great art for great causes”. They are part of a growing number of entrepreneurs engaged in ethical commerce, creating jobs, paying fair wages and giving back to artisans. This makes owning a piece of Tuareg tribal jewelry a win-win situation. When you own a beautiful piece of handmade silver jewelry by the Tuareg family, you have the added pleasure of knowing that you have helped to build a culture and community.
Giorgio Armani’s Spring Summer 2011 collection inspired by the Tuareg people of North Africa, known for their traditional blue indigo robes.