Moroccan jewelry has always been a favorite of mine since I was a youngster. I used to go shopping with my mother in Medina, our city’s central district, for real Moroccan jewelry.
Checking new and antique jewelry arrivals and acquiring pieces while gold and silver prices were low was a pastime shared by many Moroccan ladies. Women used to invest the bulk of their money in real Moroccan jewelry since banks were not particularly popular at the time.
That’s not all, however. Moroccan women like jewelry, and it isn’t only for the sake of being affluent. Every Moroccan woman and girl is proud of her jewelry box, which contains all of the items that her mother or grandmother handed down to her, as well as those that she was given or acquired through the years. Because each item of jewelry has its narrative, there is an emotional connection.
Moroccan jewelry is an important aspect of Moroccan culture. Moroccan silver jewelry in the hair of a young Berber girl (vintage)
I spent my youth listening to my grandmother, mother, and aunts tell me about their jewels. Now I’m here, obsessed with Moroccan jewelry and vintage Moroccan jewelry designs. You won’t hear from me for hours if you put me in a genuine Moroccan jewelry shop!
For anybody who isn’t a Moroccan native or knowledgeable with Moroccan culture, shopping for Moroccan jewelry, whether online or in Morocco, maybe intimidating. There are several aspects to consider throughout the search and purchasing process, and it is easy to overspend or purchase a fake piece of jewelry.
My enthusiasm for real antique items and the history behind each characteristic design evolved as a result of my early exposure to Moroccan jewelry. Now, one of my favorite things to do in Morocco is shop for Moroccan jewelry, and with so much imitation on the market, I can’t imagine anybody shopping for true Moroccan jewelry without understanding what to look for in terms of key patterns and signature pieces.
Emblematic Designs in Moroccan Jewelry:
It is feasible for connoisseurs to tell where a Moroccan lady is from just by glancing at her jewelry. Because each Moroccan area has its distinct jewelry designs, this is conceivable.
There are hundreds of Moroccan jewelry styles and variants, and going through them all might take pages and pages.
The problem is that most Moroccan antique jewelry is pricey and difficult to wear casually.
Traditional Moroccan jewelry sets are a fantastic example. Moroccan women no longer wear them unless they are getting married, and even then, they only rent them for that occasion.
Due to their historical worth, these hefty traditional artifacts are highly costly, and if you are not an expert, you might easily make the incorrect decision and purchase a counterfeit.
Fortunately, certain classic jewelry styles are reasonably inexpensive, simple to find, and look well with contemporary clothing.
Berber Necklaces from Morocco
Berber necklaces are one of Morocco’s most iconic jewelry items. These necklaces are ideal for ladies who like unique items that add character to their jewelry collection.
Berber necklaces are available in a variety of sizes, from large to little. Silver and real stones like amber, coral, and onyx are used to create authentic Berber necklaces. They may be fairly expensive, costing thousands of dollars depending on the materials used and the necklace’s weight.
If the price of a Berber necklace is too cheap, it’s probably not genuine. Genuine Berber necklaces under $70-$80 just do not exist, unless you are seeking an imitation. If you choose more expensive stones like Amber or Coral, your Berber necklace will cost at least a few hundred dollars.
A hefty traditional Berber necklace, such as the one seen below with Amber beads, is a must-have for Berber engagement rituals, marriages, and baby showers. Similar ones may be found here (genuine and nice replicas).
Necklace made of heavy Berber coral
The necklace shown below is a tiny Berber necklace that was handcrafted in Morocco and is based on Berber historical jewelry patterns. It’s one of my favorite Berber necklaces for both formal and informal occasions. Very feminine and one of a kind. I have one of these, and whenever I wear it, I always receive praises. You may read about it here.
Silver Bracelets from Morocco
Moroccan silver bracelets are really popular. They may be worn alone or in pairs to generate a large thickness in the wrists, and the greater the better. There are several designs to pick from, which may be basic or intricately etched. The most popular are made of 925 sterling silver, although there are various gold variations as well.
These Moroccan silver bracelets are an absolute charm if you’re seeking real bracelets. They are a tad pricey, but trust me when I say that they will sparkle and shine for decades!
This Moroccan bracelet imitation – $29 is one of my faves for a less expensive choice!
Moroccan Hamsa Jewelry is the third item on the list.
The Hamsa, also known as the Khamsa, the Eye of Fatima, or the Hand of Fatima, is a Moroccan-Jewish emblem that resembles a hand and is said to guard against evil and bad individuals. It’s a Moroccan jewelry classic.
Moroccan gold Hamsa necklace is stunning
In Morocco, the Hamsa may be found on practically every piece of jewelry: Hamsa necklaces, Hamsa pendants, bracelets, earrings, and so on. The Hamsa hand jewelry is a true classic, and most Moroccan ladies own at least a few pieces with this protective emblem.
Prices of Moroccan Jewelry
Authentic Moroccan jewelry manufactured with expensive materials and stones (such as amber, coral, and onyx) or decent quality copies is available depending on your budget.
If you’re on a tight budget, replicas are an excellent option. I have a lot of Moroccan jewelry duplicates from a few years ago that still look great. All you have to do is be careful with them and keep them away from water and scent.
Look for silver-made jewelry, such as silver Hamsa necklaces, silver bracelets, and onyx-and-silver Berber necklaces (like the one I shared with you above!) if you want to invest in real Moroccan jewelry but can’t spend a lot of money.
Silver is far less expensive than gold and is nevertheless a long-lasting jewelry material that may be handed down through many generations. If you concentrate on lightweight jewelry, you may also get gold jewelry.
Moroccan antique jewelry
Moroccan antique jewelry is quite pricey. The majority of Moroccan women are pleased with the ancient jewelry items passed down from their moms and grandparents, and they seldom seek out new pieces. In reality, finding a reputable antique jewelry merchant, whether online or in Morocco, is quite difficult.
Moroccan Jewellery Shopping
The Medinas, or downtown areas of Moroccan towns, are the ideal spot for me to buy real Moroccan jewelry in Morocco. This is notably true in ancient towns like Marrakech, Fez, Rabat, Chefchaouen, Casablanca, and Tangier, where Medinas may be found.
Moroccan Medinas are ideal for shopping for jewelry and handicrafts, despite their overwhelming nature. There isn’t a single person I know who hasn’t been enthralled with Moroccan Medinas! They are the beating heart of Moroccan towns, and they are where Moroccans go to get their daily requirements. They are the ideal spot to shop while immersed in local life.
Medinas in most Moroccan towns are divided into areas for different types of shopping: Moroccan jewelry, spices, carpets, traditional clothing, and so on. There are hundreds of thousands of things to choose from, each with hundreds of variants.
Check out my Morocco shopping guide if you’re intending on doing some shopping in Morocco. I like shopping in Morocco’s Medinas, and I understand that it has a lot of promise, but it can also be overwhelming, so it’s necessary to know a few things before visiting.
One of my relatives bought an expensive Berber necklace a few years ago, only to discover it was made of false amber a few days later.
However, if you buy carefully, you shouldn’t have any concerns. You may purchase jewelry to pass down to future generations. My mother’s jewelry, for example, was given to her by her grandmother. It’s very stunning and still in excellent shape. A real family heirloom.
Moroccan Jewelry: A Comprehensive Guide
Morocco has a long history of handcrafted jewelry and workmanship that continues to this day. Moroccan women’s jewelry is one of their most valued assets.
Morocco’s Jewish community, for the most part, is responsible for the ancient craft of producing real Moroccan jewelry.
The top designers and makers of these things were established to be Jewish artists and craftsmen.
We go further into the varieties of jewelry, their origins, the events for which they’re manufactured, and where to get real pieces in our detailed guide to Moroccan jewelry.
Moroccan jewelry is divided by regions:
When you think about Moroccan jewelry, you probably think of thick and complex Berber necklaces or exquisite wedding ornaments that wrap over the hair, arms, and neck.
Most notably, two distinct jewelry-making traditions spring to mind: Berber and Tuareg. Berber jewelry depicts tribal traditions and rituals.
It forms an important portion of a woman’s dowry in this way. Large amber necklaces, headbands embellished with layers of silver coins, and hinged metal bracelets with a variety of symbolic designs are frequently seen on Berber women in photographs.
Bracelets and necklaces often have a large number of semi-precious stones and other talismans.
One of the most well-known is the hand of Fatima, the prophet Muhammad’s daughter, which is used to ward off the evil eye.
The grand magnificence of this history is still as lively today, and it is one of the Moroccan culture’s finest manifestations.
Furthermore, we can observe how Berber and Tuareg traditions intertwined in the jewelry they created, resulting in a combination of two strong and vibrant traditions.
Moroccan southern jewelry is often made out of a mix of silver and bronze embellished with geometric or floral designs and motifs.
Women, for example, use a fibula as a brooch to accessorize a garment or as a hair accessory.
One of the most well-known emblems is the fibula, which is made out of a silver triangle that is typically carved or embellished with bright stones and used to keep an outer layer together or as a decorative item.
The ‘Nbala,’ on the other hand, is a basic hinged bracelet in the south Atlas area, sometimes engraved with lovely and whimsical designs.
Moroccan Jewelry Types:
Mdama is a traditional belt used to keep caftans and takchitas in place. This item is available in a variety of fabrics as well as patterns and styles. The real mdama, for example, was formerly part of a woman’s dowry.
The mdama might be constructed of pure gold, with various engravings, and embellished with a variety of stones, depending on her family’s riches and the social rank of her soon-to-be husband (mostly red and green).
It might also be fashioned of silver, with arabesque etchings on a series of hinged buckles.
As time passes, the mdama evolves into a belt composed of a rigid, almost cardboard-like material that is draped in the same material as the garment it would be worn with (whether it be silk, brocade, velvet, or cotton).
Another item of jewelry primarily influenced by Arab, Andalusian, and Ottoman influences is the Khalkhal. An ankle bracelet, sometimes known as an anklet, is a jewelry item composed of gold, silver, or a combination of the two metal.
The Khalkhal has traditionally included a number of charms and talismans, including the khamsa, or hand of Fatima, as well as a portrayal of the evil eye.
It could be delicate or more substantial, such as the Fassi Khalkhal, which is almost a cuff with different floral shapes engraved on it and a silver chain that turns it into a double layer anklet.
Bracelets in silver:
Moroccan silver bracelets are a must-have in every traditional jewelry collection. To create the thickness aspect to the wrist, these products may normally be worn alone or in layers.
While the most popular is composed of 925 silver, there are also numerous gold bracelet sets available (these are usually worn at weddings or special occasions).
There are numerous reproductions of real silver bracelet sets available nowadays, and although they are much less expensive than the originals, they nevertheless manage to capture the beauty and soul of Moroccan jewelry history.
The Khamsa, also known as the Fatima Eye or Fatima Hand, is a Moroccan-Jewish emblem that depicts a hand with the capacity to ward off evil and protect the bearer from bad energy.
This is a Moroccan jewelry classic that can be found in almost every item, whether it’s a necklace, pendant, bracelet, set of earrings, or anklet.
Because this is such an important element of Moroccan culture, most Moroccan ladies have at least a handful of items that include this lovely and distinctive sign.
Moroccan antique jewelry:
Moroccan jewelry that is antique is far more costly than jewelry that has been modified. Not only that, but even obtaining a genuine piece of jewelry with a long history is a difficulty in and of itself.
Finding antique Moroccan jewelry, whether in the Souks of old Medinas or on the internet, will prove to be a difficult effort.
Most Moroccan women acquired such ornaments from their moms and grandparents, making it almost hard to part with them owing to their emotional worth.
While finding a vintage jewelry store in Morocco is difficult, original items may still be found in historical locations such as Marrakech, Fez, Tangier, and Chefchaouen.
Where can I acquire genuine Moroccan jewelry (as opposed to knockoffs)?
Antique Moroccan jewelry may be found on exhibit in Tafraoute, Tiznit, and Inezgane, with some rare situations of stumbling upon one-of-a-kind items that qualify as rare works of art. If you’re looking for true traditional jewelry, Taroudant is well worth a visit.
Tiznit is regarded as the most important market for genuine Moroccan jewelry.
Hundreds of silversmiths peddling anything from necklaces and bracelets to exquisite daggers and swords came to show off their work at this walled town’s yearly jewelry fair. In addition, every Thursday there is a Souk that nurtures a bustling market.
Before going into the Souk, you may go to the Ensemble Artisanal in Tiznit to have a better understanding of what’s available, the varied styles and designs, and the pricing points.
In Marrakech, there is also an Ensemble Artisanal, which is an excellent place to start exploring local markets and what they have to offer.
Remember that some silver jewelry contains ‘Berber silver,’ which is a mixture of silver, nickel, and lead. While it may be difficult to tell the difference between authentic and phony jewelry, trust your instincts.
If a price appears to be too good to be true, it most likely is. You may also consider the weight of each piece, whether it seems fragile or sturdy, and the appearance of the stones, whether they are too gleaming or too dull.