Ebony Moonrise Necklace

Ebony Moonrise Necklace


Situated on ancient trans-Saharan trade route, the city of Agadez was founded by the Tuareg in the 14th century. Nomadic people of North Africa, the Tuareg are known as The Blue Men of the Sahara for their vivid indigo robes and veils. 

We travel past the maze of mud homes in the city to a village on the sahel, the desert’s edge, to visit a Tuareg family of jewelry makers. They have been practicing their craft for generations, since their ancestors crossed the desert collecting salt to trade - ounce for ounce - for gold, to be turned into grand jewelry for their kings. 

Here the homes are tents made of woven mats stretched over a wooden frame. We are served bread cooked in the sand. We watch as camel caravans pass from Agadez into the Tenere Desert. It will be several days before they reach the salt pits of northeastern Niger, where they will trade millet, dates and the still indispensable salt. 

It seems little has changed in hundreds of years. Their canvas is now fine silver, but every intricate design has a traditional, ceremonial meaning; Tuareg jewelry is still fit for a king. 

Jewelelry is initialed by the artisan in glyphs from the Tifinagh alphabet.


MaterialSilver, ebony

Size: 13in length

Made in: Niger

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UPAP fairtrade KeapSake

Artisans working with the Union of Peasants for Self Development (UPAP) make traditional Tuareg handicrafts. The Tuareg, nomadic herders of Saharan north and west Africa, now also work as traders or cultivate crops in fertile oases. Tuareg artisans of UPAP use income from craft production to supplement their subsistence farming and other livelihoods.

In 1993, young craftspeople in Terhazer, a village near Agadez, the largest city of northern Niger, organised to create leather handicrafts and silver jewellery. After traveling through France, selling from backpacks for several years, Illies Mouhmoud and his friends organised formally and began UPAP in 1999. UPAP now has shops in Niamey, Niger's capital, and in Agadez, and participates in local African fairs. UPAP also sells to fair trade organisations in France and North America.Ten Thousand Villages has purchased products from UPAP since 2002.