Africans have used jewelry since the beginning of time. In her book “Africa Adorned”, Angela Fisher shows the huge diversity of adornment in Africa. African jewelry is full of symbolism and communicates the status of the person wearing it; their prowess if they are priestess or a warrior, whether single or married, dowry size, etc. Worn by both men and women, all forms of organic materials are used as amulets or fetishes – metal, feather, leather, bone, horn, shell, wood, beads and or semi-precious stones.
The Karo tribe living along the borders of the lower Omo River in Ethiopia, incorporate rich, cultural symbolism into their rituals by using ornate body art, intricate headdresses and body scarification to express beauty and significance within their community.
The Tuareg who are among the last nomads on earth are famous for their stunning silver jewelry, hand etched in traditional designs. The cross of the Agadez is the most famous among the 21 emblems of the Tuareg – 21 different designs, each representing a specific nomadic enclave of Niger. One interpretation among many of their cross design is a representation of the Four Corners of the Earth – a metaphysical and spiritual compass for a people who are always on the move.
The variety of style of jewelry amongst african tribes and regions is as diverse as the continent itself. Jewelry is integral to our identity. It is innately in our DNA to express our creativity. It is in the rhythm that is Africa…the music, dance, landscape, architecture and art. It is our “Our Collective Genius”! Our tribal style is often duplicated on fashion runways. Billions has been made from the appropriation of our culture. We are and have always been taste makers.
In the words of George C. Wolfe “God created black people and black people created style.”
Love & Light!
Natural stones are believed to have metaphysical properties from releasing mental, physical and spiritual blockages to directing energy and raising our consciousness. Here we layout a guide to some of the stones used in Mombasa's jewelry design.
Turquoise is known as the “master Healer,” and is said to be the bridge between Heaven, Sky and the Earth. Many Native American cultures believe that Turquoise helps to connect the mind to the infinite possibilities of the Universe and is considered very sacred in Chinese cultures as well. It is a throat Chakra stone, as it helps to foster honest and open communication from the heart. It works to protect and align the chakras, strengthening the overall body in the process.
Amethyst is a natural stress reliever that encourages inner strength and brings wealth and a strong business sense to its wearer. It is a crystal of spiritual growth and protection. It brings clarity of the mind to their owner and helps you to become more in tune with your feelings so that you get to know yourself on a much deeper level. Amethyst crystals repel negative energy and attract positive energy, making them a wonderful protection stone for the home. They have one of the strongest powers to rid your home of any negative influence.
Labradorite cleans and opens the crown chakra by stimulating the wearer’s intuition. It is a power stone that allows you to see through illusions and determine the actual form of your dreams and goals. Use Labradorite to stimulate the imagination, develop enthusiasm and to see more clearly in meditation.
Agate is one of the oldest of healing stones. As a stone of strength, it was used in ancient civilizations, on the breastplates of armor, to bring warriors strength and make them victorious in battle. Agates are very protective stones, making them the perfect stones for amulets and medicine bags. They also bring us courage, emotional strength and self-confidence.
Pyrite is known to remedy financial hardship and attract abundance. The resemblance of Pyrite to gold has made it a traditional symbol for money and good luck. Its sunny golden color associates it with the sun and with the fortification and strengthening of the mind. Pyrite makes a wonderful energy shield, blocking out negativity from various sources.
Hematite is a very protective stone that helps you to stay grounded in any situation. It absorbs negative energy and calms you in times of stress or worry. When you wear Hematite, it helps you feel balanced, calm and centered. This stone helps you to find your own, unique talents, releasing self-imposed limitations.
Whether you believe in their power or not, it really doesn’t hurt to surround yourself with pretty, sparkly things.
Love & Light!
Lalibela is a holy city in Ethiopia and that is a name collectively given to these unique style of crosses. Over the years many, many different designs and styles of crosses developed and these designs became identified with a specific region of Ethiopia. What makes the Lalibela cross special? Every cross in the world is built around the Latin or the Greek Cross with variation on these two underlying designs but not the Lalibela cross. The Lalibela cross stands as the third variation that stands on its own. Some might even wonder how it could even be considered a cross. Historian consider the Ethiopic crosses are emblematic trees whose branches touch on many meanings. The incorporation of solar discs radiates in broad variety, interspersed with stars of David, tree birds, all varieties of cross point to an intentional talismanic concentration of symbols.
Close inspection of the Lalibela cross will reveal a series of recurring motifs and tropes. Heaven is represented by two oblong circles connected to one another. This symbol is not unlike and more than likely derived from the Egyptian Ankh, an ancient character symbolizing life. Overall the Lalibela cross is the simplification of the human body into a geometric design of a triangle and circle. The circle atop a triangle seems to suggest a sitting figure. So, the design not only represents a special historic time in the Christian Church, Christ and his disciples but the communion of man and God.
At Mombasa, it is simply the most beautiful cross and deserves to be shared with the world. All of our Lalibela crosses are handmade in Ethiopia by artisans. Each design is unique and should find a special woman with impeccable taste and a cultivated sense of style.
Love & Light,
Few religious artifacts are as universal, loved or revered as the cross in Ethiopia. Neck crosses have been part of Ethiopian culture for thousands of years (it is believed that Christianity was practiced there since 1st century AD) and were initially made from wood, bone, leather, carved stones or other local material. Beginning in the 19th century silver in the form of silver coins became more prevalent in rural Ethiopia and soon village silversmiths began to create neck crosses from silver. Not only the faithful adorn themselves with a small cross usually worn on a string or chain around the necks, but often times, many also get inked with the cross on their forehead, neck hand or forearms.
The crosses share a name with Lalibela, universally considered the holiest place in Ethiopia, home to Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Throughout the wearable artifices, Holy Cross and Star of David are represented symbolizing the New Testament and Bible. The Lalibela cross is everywhere in Lalibela with citizens carrying the gold and brass crosses. They are timeless and transcendent.
Mombasa’s Signature Collection highlights the many variation of the Lalibela Cross. The collection signifies our heritage and is the essence of the brand. We hope you love these statement pieces in the Signature Collection – the Saba Beaded Cross necklace featuring faceted agate bead stones and pyrite beads; the Makeda Cross and Taytu Cross necklaces hand-crafted in our Los Angeles Studios using reclaimed leather and traditional glass beads. Each piece is unique and is designed for that special #Mombasababe with impeccable taste and a cultivated a sense of style.
Love & Light,