History of African Jewelry
African jewelry dates back thousands of years and the oldest jewelry known is some shell beads discovered in a cave in South Africa believed to be about 75,000 years.
Tribal African Jewelry was made from natural materials such as ivory, amber, bone, wood, shells, metal, hair and stone. These various materials were fashioned into necklaces, waist chains, bracelets, ankle chains and head adornments.
Tribal jewelry in West Africa was traditionally used to tell a story. Depending on the culture and times, jewelry has been appreciated as a status symbol or designated as a cultural affiliation. Anklets were used for ritual dances, beaded belts or waist chains were used at wedding ceremonies and cowrie shells have even been used as a form of money.
Today as in the past, African Jewelry is used to enhance personal beauty and at the same time displays the artistry of African craftsmen.