In western cultures, we may associate prayer beads to  Christianity and Middle Ages. In fact, their use is universal and pre-dates the Christian Era. Even today the religions of nearly two-thirds of the world’s population utilize some form of prayer beads:  Muslims, Buddhists and Christians. The use of prayer beads came from the early urge to count prayers. Probably, in the beginning, fingers or pebbles moved from one pile to another was the way to do it. Later on, a cord was some knots were tied was used. In fact, the ”konbolion” is a knotted rosary still employed nowadays in the Greek Orthodox Church. Also used until recently (S. XIX in Germany) was a  thong of leather with [...]

2017-11-06T22:04:59+02:00October 26th, 2017|Uncategorized|


Mapuche ethnic adornment is the great unknown for lovers of ethnic jewelry. Being a silversmith work without major technical challenges, it has great aesthetic strength for the simplicity of its shapes and the great originality of its designs. The Mapuche people live on the Andes Mountains, straddling Argentina and Chile, between the Aconcagua River and Chiloé Island. Its inhabitants are very wedded to their land and their customs, and have a rich cosmology that focuses its principles in their attachment to ancestral territories, then embodied in everyday objects such as ceramics, textiles and jewellery. It is also the people who resisted three and half centuries of conquest, first by Spanish invader, and then by the Chilean colonization.   [...]

2017-11-04T21:26:20+02:00October 26th, 2015|Uncategorized|


Skhab scented necklaces There’s a type of adornment in Northern Africa that is well known in all Maghreb: the scented beads necklace, called “Skhab”, which has a symbolic and ritual meaning, due to the perfume it exhaled. It is mainly used in Algeria and Tunisia, while in Morrocco, the used of cloves for the same purposes is more extended. The origin of these necklaces is not clear. Some researchers claim it to be of Berber origin (P. Eudel), while others think that they might have come with the Arab invasion. The used of these perfumed necklaces is widespread in rural Algeria and Tunisia, but it’s also well known in big cities, where women can buy them from jewelry [...]

2017-11-06T22:20:48+02:00April 6th, 2015|Uncategorized|


A new exhibition, at the Museu Nacional de Catalunya (Barcelona) is setting out to restore the figure of Josep Tapiró to its rightful place as one of the leading representatives of international Orientalism. Josep Tapiró i Baró (Reus 1836-1913), the first painter from the Iberian Peninsula to settle in Tangier, was a direct witness of the extraordinary urban and cultural transformation of this city, where he lived from 1876 until his death. Throughout those years, Tapiró undertook an almost scientific study of North African society and, apart from its artistic quality, his work is an important testimonial document of a world in retreat before European colonial pressure. The people, sumptuous clothes and spectacular Moroccan and Berber piece of jewellery were accurately painted by [...]

2017-11-04T21:08:52+02:00October 26th, 2014|Uncategorized|


BERBER WOMEN OF MOROCCO   I’ve visited this week this magnificent exhibition in the Yves Saint-Laurent Foundation located in Paris, not far from the Quai Branly Museum. The quality of the jewels exhibited is amazing, items which are impossible to see on the market anymore.  A big part of them are from the own collection of Yves Saint Laurent and normally on display at the Berber Museum at the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh, a city he loved and visited many times from the 60’s, even before it was on the tourist route of many low-cost air companies. The exhibition is centered on different issues related to the daily lives of Berber women and around their specific skills in [...]

2017-11-06T22:40:46+02:00February 6th, 2014|Uncategorized|


The charm box pendant called the ga’u originated in Tibet. This sort of jewellery is in wide use throughout the western and eastern sub-Himalayan area by tribes who follow Buddhism and others who emulate them, though the local term used to designate it varies with the group. Amulet Box of a Noblewoman, late 19th“early 20th centuryTibet,Gold, beryl, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and turquoise; 4 x 4 in. (10.2 x 10.2 cm)The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York The origin of the charm container-pendant in Tibet can be traced to the often inhospitable environment. Violent natural phenomena, such as seasonal floods, hail, wind and sandstorms affect the success of the crops upon which the people’s very existence depends. [...]

2017-11-04T20:35:00+02:00October 26th, 2013|Uncategorized|