Cradle of Humanity:
This bold, earthy statement necklace could be right out of an African Museum. It looks ancient enough to have been excavated from an old African tomb, and yet it maintains a degree of modernity due to the shiny brass and polished beads. I have used the old with the new here to nicely balance this piece. I have also used the deep, dark, mysterious browns and the creamy, light ivory together to maintain a necessary contrast. This piece is completely symmetrical with respect to number and style of beads, but due to the natural individuality of each bead, it is not uniform. It is both sophisticated and primitive at the same time. I describe it as a polished ruggedness, and this balance of contrasts is something I try to obtain with much of my jewelry.
The batik bone beads come from Kenya and are carved out of cow bone. The spotted beads are called "skunk" beads and are actually Venetian trade beads. They are mainly found in Africa because that is where they were most often traded for gold, ivory, oils and slaves. This design was of particular interest to many nations to serve as a talisman against the Evil Eye. These skunk or eye beads are rare and expensive and are beautiful artifacts to cherish from the days of African trade.
The woven brass beads were cast in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) by a labor-intensive process termed lost-wax method. They are made, one by one, by weaving wax "wires" into a form, investing them in clay, burning out the wax and pouring molten brass into the mold. Each mold is hand made making each bead slightly different from the next. The antique brass rings are cast similarly by people living in Nigeria and Cameroon. They are antiqued, rough and inexact making them very exotic and ancient-looking. The shiny brass beads are also African brass, but I am not sure from where.
The Rift Valley of Kenya is sometimes referred to as The Cradle of Humanity because archeological finds suggest that the human race started there. A place with such a rich history and mix of cultures must be overflowing with soul, and I tried to reflect this soul of Kenya in this necklace.
This dramatic neckpiece is adjustable from 17 to 22" to fit your style and it closes with a large brass lobster clasp.
- Kenyan batik bone
- Venetian glass "skunk" trade beads
- African "woven" brass beads from Ghana
- antique African brass rings
- Bone color Grecian terra cotta
- African brass rounded cubes
- swivel brass lobster clasp
- brass chain
Length: 17" + 4" extender
* I make every piece of jewelry myself with gemstones and natural materials I get from all over the world. Due to the nature and availability of the materials, each piece of jewelry will vary slightly from the original. Every piece will be equally beautiful and every piece is an original work of art.