Gold & Silver Jewelry

Ethiopian artisans create a wide range of jewelry not limited to beaded necklaces, bracelets, and anklets. Ethiopia is well known for its gold and silver smiths that traditionally come from Aksum in northern Ethiopia and are always men. Customarily, jewelry is given to a woman before or on her wedding day as a form of insurance while married women often receive jewelry as a gift to show wealth and status. The most common types of jewelry include earrings and pendants in the shape of crosses. When well crafted, these pieces are intricately cast showing the fine workmanship of the metal-smiths in the country. Most pieces are made of gold or silver, although often mixed with other metals. Traditional artisans still used the lost wax casting method in which the piece is first molded from wax then covered in clay which is left to harden in the sun. Then hot metal is poured into a hole in the top of the clay casing thus melting the wax and leaving a cast form of the piece behind. In this form of casting, the mold must be broken to release the piece of jewelry within making each piece one-of-a-kind.

Ethiopians are also known for their filigree work, particularly in silver. Artisans create filigree bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces by soldering tiny beads and twisted threads of gold or silver together or to the surface of an object. The filigree technique creates lace-like, delicate pieces of jewelry. All finished gold and silver jewelry is sold by weight. The prices of gold and silver fluctuate often.

Visitors can find gold and silver jewelry in... 

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