The Tuareg are the dominant nomadic population of the Sahara desert. Living as they have for many centuries they follow their herds in search of pasture. For a nomad beauty and utility are aligned, so most of their beautiful arts are to be worn or used. Tuareg jewelers work in much the same way they always have, using bellows, a coal fire and hand tools. Although they now are able to import high quality silver from Europe and the designs are diverging from the purely traditional, they are enormously proud of their ancient cultural traditions. Proceeds from the sales of these beautifully crafted necklaces is devoted to helping the Tuareg preserve these traditions through the work of the Nomad Foundation. If an artist cannot sell his work, no matter how beautiful, he will be unable to continue making it and the art form will be lost. Think about this as you peruse the site and know that a purchase is more than a gift to yourself or a loved one: it is a gift to a culture struggling to survive.
A Tuareg jeweler working at his anvil in Iferouane.
Cameleers at a Tuareg festival.