As we all know, Jewelry from central Asia is most often silver, like agate, stone, coral, turquoise nozi – gardon five-element uzbek emerald, coral, silver. The birds in the central pendant represents happy and protection, and fish shapes hanging on behalf of male fertility. Now china jewelry supplies website will tell you some knowledge of ancient silver tribal jewelry in central Asia.
Central Asian jewelry is so striking that the elaborate stone-inlaid items, stamped and engraved with graceful designs, might seem to be purely for the sake of adornment; in reality, almost all are amuletic in intent. In societies where superstition is prevalent, those most in need of protection (usually women, children, and sometimes livestock) are given specific amulets to wear.Except for Tajiks, who speak a form of Persian and are descended from the earliest Indo-European settlers in the region, most Central Asian tribes were nomads of Turco-Mongolian heritage. Since their wandering ways have brought them to Iran, China, Tibet, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Iraq, and elsewhere, there are Kazakhs living in Turkmenistan and Turkmen in Tajikistan, and there is often a mingled influence of cultures in jewelry design and function.
Women traditionally wore forehead and chest decoration, earrings, bracelet, beads, and pendants for bottom of braids, which are worn down the back. Todays woman in Uzbekistan is rarely seen without earrings, bracelet, rings, or beads in her attire. The Uzbekis we encounter are well dressed, although the average per capita income is under $700 U.S. (and Uzbekistan is better off financially than other countries in the region.)
In museums in Tashkent and Samarkand, Eve and I see variations of jewelry we already own. Beautiful pieces are for sale in the museum gift shops and in the bazaar. Wanting to contribute to the economy, not to mention our collections, we buy, but only after obtaining proper customs receipts and assurance of help should any problems arise when we are leaving for home. (We imagine help may involve wiring our loved ones, advising them that our vacation has been extended for an undetermined length.)In Kazakhstan, the metalsmiths craft flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries, using an inventory of swage block, files, vices, pincers, chisels, draw-plates, punches, scissors, hammers, and only a few other tools. Master silversmiths, whose names are still honored today by Kazakhs, melted down Russian, Chinese, and Polish coins for silver. Unlike Uzbek and Tajik ornaments, Kazakh pieces are austere and large, though not as massive as those of the Turkmen.
Kazakh jewelry is easily distinguished from other Central Asian styles. Using such stones as topaz, pearls, rough and faceted diamonds, rubies, crystal, carnelian, turquoise, mother-of-pearl, and coral, Kazakh artisans employ diverse methods, sometimes depending on what part of the country they come from. Most often seen is an item with a raised bezel with ruby-colored glass behind a filigree vitrine like a magnificent miniature stained glass window. Engraving, openwork, applied and grain filigree, and niello techniques are also common. For engraving, a surface is filed clean and a design is engraved with a chisel, after which sheet gold is pressed into the outline. Filigree work, once executed only for wealthier clientele, is now more widespread. In openwork filigree, the elements of the pattern are soldered together; in applied and grain filigree, the finished design is soldered onto the metal. Several methods of niello work came into play some time in the 19th century. Granular work is traditional in southwestern Kazakhstan, while in western Kazakhstan, silver articles were often gilded, and differ markedly from the other ornaments in appearance and decoration techniques.
While some Turkic invaders of the region settled in and took up agriculture, others practiced pastoral nomadism until the beginning of the 20th century, raising sheep and, especially, horses. Some of the most beautiful baubles are, in fact, horse trappings, since the Turkmen (and Kazakhs, as well), revere their horses as friends, a source of livelihood, a mode of transportation, a form of currency, and a measure of wealth. To see some truly spiffy horse gewgaws, check out Kalters The Arts and Crafts of Turkestan.
Ancestor worship is common to Central Asians. In the mythological consciousness of the Turkoman, positive magic power is attributed to the decorative details crafted into their jewelry. Water signs, mountain motifs, tree-of-life, ancestral symbols, horn representations, leaf and blossom designs, are paired, much as in the Chinese concept of yin and yang, into male-female, east-west, sun-moon, bright-dark, etc., in a bid to preserve the balance of order in their environment. These designs emanate from early animist traditions largely unchanged despite Muslim influence. Many customs combining shamanistic ritual and Islamic practices involve using amulets and talismans to destroy malevolent forces. For an in-depth discussion of these symbols, consult Schletzers Old Silver Jewellery of the Turkoman.
Silver wire is cut into tiny sections and heated on a perforated plate. When molten, the silver falls through into a bowl filled with cold water and hardens; the resulting granules are soldered onto the jewelry base. To decorate, gilding is used to accentuate and define incised lines. Fretwork is used on borders of larger elements. Solid gold is never found as the primary metal of old Turkmen jewelry, and is often avoided by some Muslims. Gold jewelry is inexpensive,claims a Kyrgyzstan Web site, because Kyrgyzstan takes the seventh position in the world gold stocks rating, and further mentions, Kyrgyzstani women prefer silver to gold because it protects against misfortune.
Among the Turkmen, young girls of marriageable age and women who havent yet had children wear amulets and talismans specifically intended to exert a magical power on men and on their own fertility. In their hostile environment, where infant mortality was not long ago 60 percent, the very survival of their race relies on somehow tempering the capricious forces of life. Turkmen children are protected by triangular cloth talismans called doga (an example of which hangs from the top of the headdress shown on page 20, another of my Internet purchases).
Upon reaching puberty, a Turkmen girl wears her hair in four braids, usually two in front, hanging down the chest, and two down the back. Married women wear two braids down the back. The distinctive heart-shaped asyk, a wedding gift from the grooms family, is a braid adornment for the bottom of the brides plaits, usually hidden by veils or scarves. This is probably the most universally recognized Turkmen ornament. Its myriad manifestations combinations of two and three of the shapes, variously embellished with chased and impressed patterns could, in themselves, comprise a magnificent collection, were a jewelry connoisseur to concentrate on that item alone. They also make nifty necklace pendants.
Another distinctive ornament is the dagdan, or tree-of-life symbol, named for the Dagdan tree, from which potent wooden amulets are fashioned. The prevalent rams horn motif in Central Asian jewelry is associated with many childbearing rituals. (When in doubt, you can usually be safe in guessing that the desired effect of an amulet is something involving fertility.)
The carnelian, usually set in raised round or oval bezels, is considered Allahs favorite stone by many Muslims. Some Turkmen claim it protects the eyes from disease; other sources claim the Turkmen believe it gives general protection from death and illness and brings the wearer good luck and peace. In some cases, another substance stands in for carnelian most commonly, red glass. The Yomud tribe uses other colors of stone or glass, and Yomud jewelry is further distinguished by its use of thin gilded silver repouss plaques soldered on top of a plain silver base, according to Fitz Gibbon.
And, indeed, the over 30 different tribal groups have distinctive styles. The jewelry we see most are from the Yomud, Ersari, and Tekke tribes. It helps to remember these three if you really want to turn heads when you show off your jewelry. Saying Turkoman is not nearly as impressive as saying Tekke Turkoman and being right. We really impressed our tour group with our spouting off; before long, they were consulting us on potential purchases.
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