Ethnic Jewels

An appreciation of ethnic jewellery and adornment

Huge silver disc with a six pointed star along with two amulet holders (tube and square) and two scented material holders ( round box and cone)

Discs of this shape were worn by Zenete or eastern berbers
from tunisia to siwa oasis in egypt

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Comment by Edith D on August 27, 2017 at 14:20
Thanks so much for your thoughtful and informative response, Alana Eddine! I have become very interested in the nexus between the various cultures in Tunisia and the effect this has had on the design of the jewelry. Since we all agree on the Berber heritage, what exactly does this mean? And what about the Punic, Roman, Fatimid, and European influences? And I agree with you, it is so completely intertwined that one can never say for sure "this design aspect is derived from X, Y or Z." But, it is fun to try, and I think we can get a sense of the complexities of the antecedents of a particular design. It gives one a sense of the rich history of the region. The idea of the symbolism of the moon makes sense. I would like to know more about Berber spiritual beliefs compared to The Punic religion. Were there similarities in the symbols and talismans? Thanks again for your thoughts, which I enjoy reading!
Comment by Alaa eddine SAGID on August 27, 2017 at 12:49

Thank you Edith

I should have been more precise on this mater which is the least we can say is sensitive and complex.

By "Eastern berbers" or "Zenetes" i meant the widely arabized berbers living now in part of Tunisia, Lybia until Siwa Oasis.

Most of these berbers have mixed with the arab bedouins coming from the east since a thousand year (many waves), some have miraculously maintained the berber language such as those from Siwa oasis, Djebel Nefoussa or tataouine for example

I wanted to stress out on the universal use of these discs among this population and how it is almost unheard of once we get further west into Algeria and Morocco where we encounter very few berber of Zenetian background (more Sanhadja and Masmouda..ect)

The more we search, the more we learn and get less sure about one's certitudes, it seems to me that the matter i explained above is a bit more complex as this disc use in jewelry echoes a much more ancient belief from eastern mediterranenan and near east linked to the moon. It is still maintaned in Oman for example and thus got me thinking if these discs in north Africa are a local berber remanant from before the arrival of arab bedouins or at the contrary, it was these arab tribes who brought it in the region and established its used among the freshly conquered berbers who embraced it (for they embraced many other arab customs), like they embraced many customs before from Carthaginians, romans or byzantines...ect

This is yet another example of what you told me about sometime ago! A Palimpsest!!

Comment by Edith D on August 27, 2017 at 3:38
Ah, very nice! I saw one of these for sale once....sadly I didn't have money to buy it at the time. I would love to know any other information you have about what specifically makes this piece Berber, and what sets it apart from other influences (Arab, European, etc). Thanks for sharing yet another fabulous piece!
Comment by BarbaraAnne on August 26, 2017 at 7:25


Comment by Joost Daalder on November 29, 2011 at 18:26


Comment by Alaa eddine SAGID on August 13, 2011 at 9:27
Absolutely Toya, your necklace and this one belongs to a tradition widespread in central Tunisia from where they both come from.
Comment by Toya on August 13, 2011 at 3:21
Beautiful necklace. What an interesting arrangement of pendants. It feels balanced without  being symetrical. The big disc reminds me of the one on my Tunisian necklace.



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