Jewelry Traditions From Around the World

There are a wide variety of distinctive jewelry styles, techniques, and pieces created in different countries and cultures throughout the world. Exploring these diverse and unique world jewelry styles is an excellent way to create your own personal style.

Finding unique and unusual jewelry pieces from around the world is simple through the Internet. Additionally, various marketing and charity groups help local artisans and craftspeople sell their jewelry creations internationally. While browsing these sites or at their retail stores or exhibitions it is possible to find truly one-of- a-kind items from Africa, Bali, India, Thailand, Mexico and even the Andes area of South America.


Jewelry from Africa typically features a wide range of nature based themes and materials. Bronze. copper and brass are common metals used in necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings and are typically combined with leather, glass beads, bone carved beads pieces and naturally occurring semi-precious gems such as amber. Typically balance, symmetry and a very structured look is achieved using these materials, however the overall presentation of the jewelry is very soft and gentle. Black onyx is often used in round and larger squared settings that add to the warmth and natural glow of the jewelry.


Bali and Java have a long history of producing families of gold and silversmiths that make beautiful bracelets, necklaces, earrings and pendants. Silver is typically the metal of choice, however it is typically combined with gems to make one of a kind items. Another key feature of many of the Bali silver jewelry designs is the use of small dots of silver on a naturally tarnished background to produce detailed and striking designs. Brass and copper can also be used as an accent metal. Garnet, carnelian, amethyst and pearls are all common gems found in the designs.


Indian jewelry may be silver or gold, however it is typically much more detailed and filigree type styles than seen in other countries. Close fitting chocker necklaces with many different gems and beads suspended from the main chain accentuate the neck area. Black onyx, pearls, moonstones, amethysts and peridot are gems that may be seen in the beautiful jewelry from India.


Jewelry from the Andes tends to be more geometric in shape with silver predominantly used as the metal since it is so prominent. The pendants for necklaces tend to be more inlayed with a variety of gems and stones that create patterns and motifs that are culturally defined. Filigree and the use of nature themes such as leaves, water and flowers are very popular in the jewelry but are also completely unique to the area. Different semi-precious stones including aragonite, a brown stone and chrysocolla, a beautifully variegated green stone are also very prominent in the jewelry from this area.


Jewelry from Thailand is often very delicate, inspired by nature, butterflies, dragonflies, flowers and the natural surroundings. Silver and gold are both used in most jewelry items with pearls, topaz and turquoise making a striking visual impression. Thin chokers with distinctive and detailed pendants worn close to the throat are also a common theme in the jewelry of Thailand. Jade and crystal, two very traditional materials figure prominently in many of the custom designs from the country.
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