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The Tuareg

The Tuareg are traditionally a semi-nomadic people inhabiting a large area of the middle and western Sahara desert.  The men are often called "Blue people of the desert" due to the indigo dye used on their garments which may stain their skin.

They are world renowned for their extraordinary silversmith skills, typically using the most basic of tools such as a screwdriver and file.  Using 99.99% pure silver, ebony, semi-precious stones and glass they produce some of the most unique silver jewelry in the world.

In Tuareg society women do not traditionally wear the veil.  It is the men who cover their faces.  Women hold high status.  The Tuareg society trace their lines through the women, rather than the men.  They may not obviously be part of political life, but their opinion is highly valued by the men, who will likely discuss issues with their mother or wife. Women are allowed to have multiple sexual partners outside of marriage, keep all their property on divorce and are so revered by their sons-in-laws that the young men wouldn’t dare eat in the same room. Unlike so many other cultures, women lose none of their power once they marry.

Tuareg silversmith at work

"Each piece of Tuareg jewelry helps provide the artisans with the blessings of food and culture and the wearer of the jewelry a sense of beauty and pride."  Elhadaji Koumama