Jewellery is prevalent in nearly every culture across the globe. However, the type of jewellery that is worn changes from culture to culture. There are so many different types out there, no matter what body part it is for there seems to be a range of different choices available. Different designs, materials and more mean there is so much choice out there. Let’s take a look at jewellery from different cultures and what they mean to the people that wear them.
In the Padaung tribe in Myanmar, the women wear numerous golden neck rings. As a result, they get their particularly long necks that can get up to 15 inches long. Young girls, as early as five, get their first ring and then is continuously added to over the years. It is worn as a means of cultural identity.
Living across the Sahara Desert, the Tuareg people are nomadic and will constantly moving across borders. It’s customary for the men to wear an indigo dyed cloth (called a Tagelmust) across their faces. Wearing this began as a way to ward off evil spirits. As well as the Tagelmust, fathers gift their sons a cross when they reach puberty. It is a symbolic piece, relating to their nomadic culture.
Jewellery from Different Cultures: Greece
In both Greek and Cypriot culture, wearing beaded jewellery called komboloi has been an engrained practice in their culture since the middle of the 20th century. Komboloi are the Greek’s version of a stress ball and can also be called worry beads. They are played around with in order to pass time or clear the mind. Originally worn by monks as a religious item, they have lost this meaning over time.
In China, neither gold nor silver are the most expensive type of jewellery. That title goes to Jade. It has been that way for over seven thousand years and is prized in their culture because the beauty and durability of the stone is meant to represent the concept of yin and yang. Years ago, Jade jewellery was worn to ward off evil spirits and bad luck.
South-western United States
The Navajo tribe is America’s second largest officially recognised tribe. They value turquoise as important to their culture and have done for thousands of years. To them it represents health, luck and happiness – as well as connecting them to the natural world. In the tribe, the amount of jewellery, size and number of stones will reflect how influential you are.
The Zulu people are the largest ethnic group in South Africa. They use beadwork as a method of communication between males and females. Beaded jewellery can represent a woman’s marital status, as well as home, family and more. Making the jewellery is often done by the women and passed down to their daughters.