The indigenous Berber tribes of the Mahgreb, North Africa are widely recognised for their exquisite silversmithery and elaborate woven textiles, however, they are also known for their production of semi-precious amber...
The indigenous Berber tribes of the Mahgreb, North Africa are widely recognised for their exquisite silversmithery and elaborate woven textiles, however, they are also known for their production of semi-precious amber, Trade Beads used as currency along the trans-Saharan trading route. Valued for their unrivalled beauty and exuberant colors, Moroccan Amber Beads hold great historical significance in the eyes of many Berber tribespeople, including the belief that amber contains the spirits of various ancestors. As such, many families continue the age-old tradition of gifting amber necklaces to their children as a family heirloom. There is a common misconception that Moroccan Amber Beads are semi-precious stones, when in fact they are produced from the natural resin of gum trees. Amber itself forms when chemicals within the resin, known as 'terpenes', are broken down, allowing heat and natural pressure to transform the resin into a solid mass. This process of polymerization can take many years, which is why it's not uncommon to find fossilized insects forever frozen in time within some beads. You'll find that most Moroccan Amber Beads are quite rustic in character owing to the humble tools originally used to influence their shape. In fact, most artisans continue to employ the age-old technique of 'amber rolling' against a flat, wet stone to create that aged aesthetic. Contemporary Amber Resin Beads may be made using more modern techniques including the use of newer resins while maintaining the handcrafted qualities and timeless tradition of these beautiful beads.
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