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Gold and silver are ideal materials for jewellery making, being the only metals that do not stain the skin when worn. Still, due to its abundance, brass, copper and iron are more commonly used – especially for those who cannot afford jewellery made of silver or gold.

Jewellery is meant to beautify and adorn and, at the same time, may serve as a “saving-account” and provide possibilities for collecting and distributing wealth. As such, jewellery expresses power and prestige. Jewellery is worn by women and men, young and old. Sometimes newborn babies are decorated with jewellery from the moment they are born. The material in use, its shape and design depends on the social position of the family, the gender of the child and the social group she or he belongs to.

Jewellery, along with other forms of adornment attiring women and men, do change throughout their life courses. Adornment denotes and moulds a persons social belonging and status within their group or society. Jewellery – significant adornments – are consequential objects in lifecycle rituals and ceremonies and are often associated with particular cosmological attachments.

Copper; Necklace; M´Bangi, Congo; 1906; UEM13855
Brass; Necklace; Congo; Early 1900; UEM14896
Silver, unknown metal; Anklet; Congo; 1909; UEM17777
Silver; Necklace; East Africa; 1928; UEM30616
Plated metal; Bracelet; Abyssinia / Ethiopia; 1933; UEM36145
Gold; Bracelet; Abyssinia / Ethiopia; 1935; UEM36158
Plated metal, glass; Bracelet; Abyssinia / Ethopia; 1935; UEM36159
Iron; Bracelet; Abyssinia / Ethiopia; 1933; UEM36175
Textile, paper, aluminium; Amulets neckless; Congo; 1956; UEM41503
Brass; Earrings; Maine-Soroa, Niger; 1971; UEM43997
Silver texstile; Amulets, necklace; Amhara, Ethiopia; 1971; UEM44398
Brass; Bracelet; Mangbetu, Congo; 1909; UEM44580
Brass; Necklace; Mangbetu, Congo; 1909; UEM44581
Brass; Bracelets; Ethiopia; 1974; UEM44904
Brass; Bracelets; Borana, Ethiopia; 1974; UEM44905
Brass; Bracelets; Congo; 1892; UEM8187
Iron, brass; Anklet; Stanley Pool, Congo; 1892; UEM8192
Published Dec. 15, 2020 8:28 AM - Last modified Dec. 15, 2020 8:39 AM