Malachite and Fine Berber Silver Necklace


On offer here is an elegant necklace of green malachite and fine oxidized Berber Silver. Malachite beads, 11 mm in diameter, come from an old Russian necklace, Ural malachite is a matter of many legends and tales. Malachite beads are separated by fine Karen Hill Tribe silver disc spacers. Noble Berber oxidized silver granulated beads bring a touch of eastern opulence to this beautiful necklace. Moroccan Berber beads are 13-14 mm in diameter. Silver Bali-style S-hook clasp completes this necklace, bringing together the jewelry traditions from the Russian mines, the cloudy Tibet, the sands of Morocco, and the island of Bali.

About Malachite: The name Malachite is believed to come from the Greek word “molochitus”, referring to the mallow leaf which is similar in color. Malachite has been used in jewelry and art since antiquity, and like many other stones was believed to protect one from evil. In Ancient Egypt, the color green was highly symbolic, representing new life and fertility. Ancient Egyptians referred to the eternal paradise they believed awaited them in the afterlife as the “Field of Malachite”. Notably, the ancient Egyptians did not often use malachite in jewelry but instead used malachite powder in cosmetics and pigments.

Ancient Greeks and Romans carved malachite into amulets and widely used it in jewelry. Ancient Romans referred to malachite as the "peacock stone", associated with the queen of the gods, Juno. Across the oceans and centuries, malachite was prominent in Mayan jewelry and art as well.

About Karen Hill Tribe Silver: The Karen Hill Tribe people are part of the ancient tribes originating from the mountains of Tibet, and can be traced back to the 12th century. The 20 Hill tribes, numbering over 7 million people altogether, are spread over regions between Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar (Burma), with the Karen tribe being the largest. Most Karen Hill tribe villages are remote farming communities in the dense jungle covering the hills of this region.
Handmade silver has been for centuries the sign of wealth and status. The handmade silversmith tradition goes back centuries. The silver used by these silversmiths if very fine, 99.8-99.9% pure silver, which is substantially higher in silver content than the 92.5% sterling silver. The hand-hammered silver jewelry they make from this soft silver is exquisite and is now in high demand well beyond the region.

About Moroccan and Berber Silver: The Berbers have been a traditionally nomadic people populating Morocco and neighboring countries in North Africa. Silver jewelry has been traditional and highly valued adornment of Berber women. Morocco is rich in silver mines, and silver was mined there as early as the 1st century AD. In the 15th century, many Jewish silversmiths escaping the Spanish Inquisition arrived in Morocco. They brought with them new casting, piercing, and enameling techniques, which had a substantial influence on Berber jewelry-making. Their typical centuries-old filigree work is still seen today in much of the modern-day Moroccan jewelry.

With the Jewish population dwindling in Morocco today, the skills of the bygone era silversmiths continue to live in the Moroccan jewelry traditions today well beyond the few remaining Mellahs (Jewish quarters). The beads used in this necklace are made by these contemporary silversmiths.