Learn more about Maasai Beaded Pendants
Few tribes can compete with the Maasai of Kenya and the Great Rift Valley for cultural influence. From the magnificent beaded wedding collars created for betrothed women, to the ceremonial, coiled surutia pendants presented to young men by their mothers, there are many traditional adornments which have served as inspiration for Western fashions. Traditionally, both men and women wear pendants signifying their age class, family and clan colors; the combination of which serves to distinguish them from other clans. Maasai Beaded Pendants are hand sewn using brightly colored seed beads made of glass, plastic or natural seeds. Typically circular in shape, the pendants feature a series of colored bands encompassing the central section, along with a small triangular section at the base. Small cowry shells, believed to aid female fertility, are often suspended from the base of the pendant – one on each side to replicate the female reproductive system. Certain Maasai subcultures - particularly those around the Great Rift Valley – also wear what are known as “torso pendants”. These are significantly less detailed than Maasai Beaded Pendants, featuring a single cow horn or bone disc laced with several strands of multicolored seed beads.