Saddle Necklaces

Handmade in Niger8099061

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Image Product Name SKU Price Qty
Saddle NecklaceB 1399080
Saddle NecklaceA 1399070
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Discovering Tuareg Jewelry Stacy Spivak, Ten Thousand Villages Buyer

Situated on ancient trans-Saharan trade route, the city of Agadez was founded by the Tuareg in the 14th century. Nomadic people of North Africa, the Tuareg are known as The Blue Men of the Sahara for their vivid indigo robes and veils.

We travel past the maze of mud homes in the city to a village on the sahel, the desert’s edge, to visit a Tuareg family of jewelry makers. They have been practicing their craft for generations, since their ancestors crossed the desert collecting salt to trade - ounce for ounce - for gold, to be turned into grand jewelry for their kings.

Here the homes are tents made of woven mats stretched over a wooden frame. We are served bread cooked in the sand. We watch as camel caravans pass from Agadez into the Tenere Desert. It will be several days before they reach the salt pits of northeastern Niger, where they will trade millet, dates and the still indispensable salt.

Decorated with symbols for the salt route, triangular market, fertility, wisdom and humor, this necklace is designed in the shape of a camel seat and worn by women for great festivals.

Jewelry is initialed by the artisan in glyphs from the Tifinagh alphabet.

  • silver
  • 18L inches
  • Made in Niger

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Union of Peasants for Self Development

Union of Peasants for Self Development

Artisans working with the Union of Peasants for Self Development (UPAP) make traditional Tuareg leather handicrafts and silver jewelry. The Tuareg, nomadic herders of Saharan north and west Africa, now also work as traders or cultivate crops in fertile oases. Tuareg artisans of UPAP use income from craft production to supplement their subsistence farming and other livelihoods.

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