Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Tribal Jewelry Part 3

As promised, this third installation features traditional tribal jewelry. All three of these beautiful pieces were gifts from my dear friend Helen, who first taught me how to dance!

This style of jewelry, made from a silver-tone metal and adorned with bits of glass, plastic and sometimes lapis or other stones, is usually called Kuchi, after an Afghani tribe. It's very popular with tribal dancers, as it gives a very authentic look for a very low price (I've purchased belts of this style for as low as $25). It's also easy to get small pendants and other bits and use them to adorn bras, turbans and more, creating a unified look for your entire costume.

The above necklace is my favorite of my kuchi pieces. Though I'm not a big red-and-blue person, I love the super-long chains. When worn like a choker, the chains still stretch down to my cleavage. I am worried that I'll have to replace the red thread, though, and I might make it a little less authentic by using some SoftFlex so it will be strong and I won't have to worry about any strands breaking while I dance.
This large piece is really too big to be a pendant, and I still haven't decided exactly what I'll do with it. If I had two, I'd make a pseudo-Persian warrior queen bra. I've tried wearing it as a belt adornment with my yarn fringe belt, and while it looked awesome, as soon as I started walking, the fringes tied themselves around the chains. I should probably either use it to adorn a non-fringed belt, make it a bun cover for my hair, or decorate a turban with it.
This necklace lost a drop some time ago. I was going to move the central drop over and put something else in the center, but I've come up with a much more exciting plan. Just wait until you see the revamped necklace! So far, I've only had time to polish it up a bit, but today I'll really start to work on upcycling this damaged treasure.

07/09/09: Edited to add that it's more of a treasure than I thought. While removing the drops today, I found that what I thought was a decorative pattern on the back of the central drop is actually a Taxco Sterling stamp from somewhere between 1955 and the 1970s. Not sure about the upcycling now, since it's vintage. More updates as they happen.

I had an awesome necklace with lapis and plastic dangles with lots of chains and jinglies, but I foolishly forgot to photograph it before giving it to another friend. So instead, I'll offer you a link to TribalSouk, for all the tribal eye-candy you can handle!


  1. Now we want to see them all on! The too-big pendant, what about working it into a sort of comb for the top of long hair?

  2. what a cache of shimmy-treasure!

  3. Marilee, I took a picture of myself wearing the long chain necklace, but it wasn't a very flattering shot. When I pretty myself up to model my bra, I'll also get some shots of the tribal jewelry on :)

    I am thinking of working the big pendant-thingie into some sort of hair ornament, but I'd have to wear my hair up, or the chains would tangle something fierce.

    Thank you, Mermaiden! I'm very grateful to my friend for sharing her treasures with me when she decided to destash :)