Berber Jewelry Making Techniques

North Africa has always been a source of inspiration for ethnic statement jewelry. Also known as the Amazigh people, Berbers are the original inhabitants of this region. They are the first ethnical group who lived in the area. Despite facing several civilizations, the Romans, Arab and French; the Amazigh people managed to preserve their heritage.

One of their heritage is the jewelry making techniques.  Berber Jewelry is mainly made with pure silver using ancestral techniques (that existed for more than 2000 years).

Berber jewelry making techniques include: hammering, casting, chiseling and engraving. Each of these techniques is worked by hand.

Jews-Berbers impacted Moroccan jewelry through their well-known work in Filigree (an ornamental work using fine wire of silver) and Niello (black mixture used to fill the engraved designs on a piece of silver jewelry).  They passed on their knowledge from generations to generation to preserve and keep this legacy alive.

Indeed, Moroccan jewelry reflects in many ways, the multiculturality of Amazigh heritage.

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Hammering

Hammering is an ancient technique used to shape the metal, to create a flattened effect, a texture to the metal.

Piece Name: Al’Rulih Earrings

Location: Tiznit, South of Morocco.

Production time: 6 hours.

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Casting

Another berber jewelry making technique is casting. It’s a method in which melted silver is poured into a mold and allowed to harden. Casting is usually combined with niello technique when creating Moroccan pieces.

Piece Name: Al’Qamariat Ring

Location: Tiznit, South of Morocco

Production time: 4 hours

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Chiseling

Chiseling is a berber jewelry making technique that consists of cutting the piece of silver jewelry to create different shapes. This technique is also combine with the filigree technique by Moroccan artisans.

Piece Name: Al’Kayat Malaki Bracelet

Location: Tiznit, South of Morocco

Production time: 18 hours

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Engraving

The most famous berber jewelry making technique is engraving. It consists of drawing in a piece of metal. Berber artisans combine the engraving with the Niello technique to create dimension to the piece.

Piece Name: Al’Nasir Bracelet

Location: Tiznit, South of Morocco

Production time: 11 hours



The process of polishing a ring.

The process of hammering a ring.

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