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Berber necklace from Rissani, Sahara desert, Morocco

Berber necklace from Rissani, Sahara desert, Morocco


I bought this Berber necklace in Rissani - a famous, dusty old ‘frontier’ town in the Sahara desert, built on top of the 7th century town of Sijilsmassa - and trading post for camel trains travelling from sub-Saharan Africa to Marrakech, Fes and the coast. Once they traded slaves, gold and spices but now the town, with its fantastic old weekly souk trades donkeys, sheep, goats and some camels behind the old mud brick walls. Under the slatted shade in the souk you can see mountains of dates being traded, spices, perfumes, clothing, shoes, and everything you can think of. There are metalworkers making tools, carpenters making doors and shelves using designs seen in Moroccan homes for centuries. You can get your hair cut, have a potion mixed and haggle for yours hearts desire. My favourite spot is a secret hidey-hole behind a heavy curtain where big old trunks of jewellery tempt me to buy.  

These necklaces and others made completely of the golden amber resin beads are worn by the bride during her wedding or for very special occasions.Some brides where antique necklaces handed down through the family...others wear cheap imitations...it depends on the family’s wealth and what they can afford.

This one is a bright combination of honey resin amber, blue coloured stones, orange, blue, green and yellow glass, some wooden and plastic beads - old and new - to create a necklace that found its way into an old chest in the Saharan town of Rissani and then in my case to Australia...and who knows where next. 

Ties with a plaited deep maroon wooden tie. Heavy 350 grams in weight. Total length including woollen tie is 80cm.