An appreciation of ethnic jewellery and adornment
I am new to this site, so please forgive me if I don't quite understand how the discussions work, as well as my lack of knowledge on many of these subjects. That is why I'm here, to learn! I'm somewhat new to collecting, at least the sort of jewelry that would be discussed on here, so my budding collection seems rather shabby compared to the pieces I have seen posted by the members here. It's a rather addictive ( and pricey ) hobby collecting these items.
I recently purchased what was advertised as a Moroccan headdress on Ebay for a fairly modest price, at least compared to similar pieces I've seen for auction or sale. The enamel on this piece is rather faded, so it has an almost pastel look, which I can't tell is because it is faded, or was a lighter pastel color to begin with. Also it has rectangular purple stones and a few round red stones.
My original intention in buying this headdress was to spruce up the enamel to make it resemble the enameled jewelry with the vivid blues yellows and greens, and possibly to replace the purple stones with red coral. All of this for the purposes of costuming and matching the more commonly seen enameled Moroccan jewelry that I hope to collect in the future. So not at all for the purpose of fraud in reselling, I've no intention of selling this any time soon, or at all if I alter it.
So I am posting this to see if anyone has any information they can tell me about the origin of this headdress. I would also like input as to whether or not it would be a terrible thing to make any changes to it. Because it was not crazy expensive, and it looked poorly made from the pictures on Ebay, I just assumed this was a purely costume piece. Now actually having it in my possession, I am having second thoughts about making any alterations to it. It seems like it might be older than I thought, and if it is of any value or significance, it would be a shame to ruin that.
Any information, input, comments would be greatly appreciated!
Matilda, - I have only just found this particular post with more info and pictures from you! I do think the piece is Moroccan, but not terribly early, though it does have some age on it. What I feel VERY confident about is that you should NOT change it in any way, for it has its own integrity, and is far too good to interfere with.
This piece is handmade but is metal, and not glass enamel, so you could alter it without damage. New ones are still available but this old one has more charm and wear. Although not silver, these old pieces are now valued by collectors.
H Maggie/Matilda, - I agree with your view, Maggie, that this is not silver, and does not have glass enamel. In other words, it was not made as an expensive piece. As it has appeal, however, and does have some age and signs of use, as you say, I would not alter it, for the new ones lack the "soul" that this has, which explains to me why people would always wish to buy this one untouched. After all, if they want a new example that will be much easier to get than this. On our Facebook page "Ethnic Jewellery and Adornment" we show a headdress which is more elaborate, yet related to this simpler version, and which is made of silver with glass enamels. As you say, they are from Tiznit (both of them). If you go to the "Photos" section, both of you, it is not hard to locate. I have posted it more than once, and it is immensely popular.
Thanks for showing me your example of a similar headdress. It is lovely. What I really like is that these things are still worn here in the area and that brides from the surrounding towns feel they must have one to wear for their wedding. Variations occur but the techniques are not lost. The non-silver ones are also good to see because it means that even if it is not of a valued metal, women still want to wear them. I especially like to see the plump dancing ladies that sing the background vocals for the Berber performers. Each of them always has on a similar headdress and other jewelry.
It's gratifying to know you found the piece, Maggie, and thanks for reaction, and - more importantly - for your excellent and informative post as a whole. As you say, the materials used actually matter less than the cultural custom, and a fortunate desire, on the part of the women, to go on using very similar headdresses to the ones that used to be made more expensively. A lovely post!