Ethnic Jewelry: Geography of Styles

When the sun is warming on the street in the summer, more than ever you would like to try on beautiful ethnic jewelry — colorful beads, large earrings, colorful bracelets.

At the same time, you can satisfy your love for ethnicity by relying on absolutely any budget and request. After all, it can be both antique collectible jewelry from Tibet with large stones, and the simplest, cheapest, but charming products made of coconut and shells from the needlewomen of Bali.

Usually people prefer ethnic accessories because they evoke feelings of closeness to nature, a vivid experience of the colors of the world and the richness of life, which is so lacking for residents of modern gray cities. So, what is ethnic jewellery?

Black african girl wearing african tribal jewelry which are colorful necklaces, bracelets and earringss.

What is it special about ethnic jewelry?

The word "ethnic" itself means "folk", and ethnic style is a combination of materials, forms and design typical to a certain nationality, whether it is Indian ethnicity, Nepali, Celtic or any other.

Three woman of different nationalities wearing turban. All of them have henna inprints on the face. The girl in the middle wearing ethnic jewelry.

If we compare the real jewelry of ancient peoples with modern ethnic jewelry, these creations will completely differ from each other, just like the original painting and its copy.

Modern ethnics became popular in the early 60s, during the heyday of hippie culture - an informal youth movement promoting love of nature, all kinds of joy and world peace. It was the hippie movement that became an inspiring factor in popularizing ethnic jewelry among designers. "Natural materials", "proximity to their origins and nature", "natural forms", "bright colors and fancy patterns", "a world far from civilization" – masters create their ethnic masterpieces by relying on this principles.

Where inspiration comes from?

Wedding of beautiful young couple in Shri Lanka. Both wearing beautiful golden crowns in ethnic style.

Any ethnic look manifests itself from particular nationality. The most famous and widespread ethno-styles with which many world-famous artists and designers work are: Indian, African, Greek, Slavic, Japanese, Tibetan, Balinese and Indian style.

Indian ethnic jewelry is distinguished by a rich variety of juicy color schemes: orange, purple, bright red, gold, green and crimson.

Indian jewelry consists of voluminous earrings, massive multilevel, often heavy, necklaces made of threads of different types of metal and large stones, wide ringing bracelets, sometimes consisting of several thin metal hoops playfully intertwined, thick metal rings — often also encrusted with stones, and decorated with the Navaratna symbol.

Nose piercing is considered an integral attribute of Indian ethnicity: Indian women, like adherents of the Indian style, like to decorate their noses with beautiful shiny rings, connecting them with earrings in their ears with a chain.

Beautiful indian girl wearing a lot of ethnic indian jewelry: Nose piercing, wide ringing bracelets, multilevel heavy necklaces.

Indian ethnic jewelry is often made of copper, brass, sometimes – nickel silver, followed by a decor of beads, piercing, colorful stones or floral engraving.

African ethnicity differs in many ways from all other ethnic styles with its unique, improvised technique, rich in voluminous forms. The decorations of the peoples of Africa are filled with contrasting colors of "earthly" shades: black, dark and light gray, terracotta, dark red, the color of sand. Such embellishments are made only from natural materials: metal, wood, bone, and often contain fangs, bones, parts of the skull of mammals and bird feathers.

African tribal women wearing ethnic tribal necklaces, bracelets and earrings. One of women holds a child in her hands.

The necklace of African is almost always wide plates, with a lot of bright beads hanging in large clusters, stones, colorful feathers and charms like claws, embroidery, lunar disks and other African symbols. Together, all of this is intertwined into an amazingly beautiful magnificent composition.

Greek ethnics in jewelry is mostly expressed by external strict forms and symmetry, with patterns in the form of sinuous lines. The main coloring of Greek ethnic jewelry is light calm colors, consisting of a variety of gold, blue and white shades.

Girl is smiling. She is wearing greek ethnic jewelry. Huge bracelets are on her hands and also she is wearing massive earrings.

Large pendants, brilliant tiaras, decorative combs, elegant hairpins, wide bracelets and massive earrings – all this is Greek ethnicity in all its glory.

Slavic ethnic jewelry is saturated with patterns of traditional symbols in red and terracotta colors. Sometimes gold, blue, black, green and white elements in small amounts are added for variety. The main materials of Slavic–themed jewelry are made of  metal alloys and wood,  decorated with carved runes and solar amulets.

Hand with slavic ethnic silver jewelry in hands. Pendant necklace with slavic symbols and rings.

The Egyptian character is given to the jewelry via turquoise, blue, green, white, gold, dark brown and light yellow colors. Egyptian ethnic jewelry is characterized by strict lines and regular geometric shapes. Ornaments of this style are filled with images of snakes, bird wings, Egyptian deities, pharaohs and pyramids. Quite often there are engravings in the form of lotuses, scarabs, hieroglyphs.

Beautiful egyptian girl wearing beautiful make up with egyptian patterns. Also, she is wearing egyptian ethnic jewelry with engraved natural stones.

The Japanese style of ethnic jewelry is easily recognizable by its simplicity and simultaneous appeal. Laconic, finished forms are especially loved by connoisseurs of the noble aesthetics of minimalism. A fairly typical Japanese decoration is a wide white bracelet, which depicts a cherry blossoming in pink. Sometimes shades of orange and green are wedged into the monotony of color, as well as images of birds, trees and geometric shapes, which gives the decorations liveliness and variety.

The ethnic style of the Indians is formed with the help of successful combination of "restrained" color shades: in most cases it is brown, terracotta and sand, then burgundy and beige. Ethnic earrings in the style of Indian ethnics are densely decorated with traditional ornaments, beads and large beads, leather elements, as well as "dream catchers".

A special "piece" of the Indian style is jewelry made of natural turquoise, rich fields of which were discovered by natives in American lands.

Tibetan jewelry most of the time serves as amulets and expresses social status of its owner. These jewels, made of gold and silver, are considered to bring good luck, so Tibetan women prefer never to take them off, so as not to accidentally invite trouble on themselves.

Among the most common Tibetan jewelry, one can distinguish amulet pendants, called gau, in which sacred relics can be stored. Both tibetan women and men mostly from the Kham region are very fond of voluminous earrings and luxurious head ornaments with numerous gemstones and large long beads.

Tibetan girl wearings massive colorful tibetan ethnic jewelry

Tibetan rings are usually wide, saddle—shaped, called "tekama" and decorated with stones favored by tibetan people- turquoise, lapis lazuli, amber and coral. Tibetan ethnic ornaments universally depict mantras, Buddhas, mandalas and other Buddhist auspicious and protective symbols.

Balinese ethnics have conquered the world with carvings made of wood, bone and horn. Ethnic jewelry from this Indonesian island is represented in other countries mostly by carved earrings-deceptions, tunnels and plug-ins. A special "piece" of jewelry from Bali is considered to be silver products with carved faces of ivory deities. Such gizmos are often framed with natural stones of bright shades and intricate filigree, which gives Balinese silver a unique exotic aesthetic.

How to create your own ethnic look?

We recommend you to choose ethnic jewelry based on your personal preferences, while at the same time paying attention to the peculiarities of your appearance. For example, if you have dark hair and dark skin, then Indian, African or Egyptian style will definitely suit you. But Japanese and Slavic will be suit more to blonde girls with white skin. 

You can buy different styles of ethnic jewelry in our online store.

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