It all started when I wound up at the village of the Arbor tribe.
People of the Arbore tribe live in the Omo Valley in the southern Ethiopia, and like all the other tribes of the region, can not be pictured without vivid, massive jewelry. In this tribe, I met this amazing girls that fascinated me not only with her beauty and charm, but also with the dozens of beads literally wrapped around her neck. Soon it became apparent I’m not leaving the village without some of such beads. I was looking at her neck and the bright blue and red beads necklaces and imagining how it will fit my white shirt, and how well it will look at the Tel Aviv’s seafront.
So the girl sold me, although with some sadeness, her beaded collar, but for the money I paid her she probably was able to buy a dozen of such necklaces. And I, having happily put the beads in my pocket, went on with my journey.
On the last day of my visit to Ethiopia, I was sitting on the floor in the area’s only decent hotel and packing my bag, sifting through the collection of the Omo Valley ‘jewels’. My blue and red Arbore beads were the bright spot among shopping finds. Large uneven beads were strung on the cords made of the goat skins, and the cords were imbued with the old goat fat, ocher, clay, and god knows what else. When after half an hour I (a doctor’s daughter!) did not come up with how they can be washed and sterilized, it became clear that this beauty I can not bring to Israel, and even more so, can not put on my neck. Holding back tears, I had to leave the beaded collar of the girl from the tribe of Arbore behind, but what I got from this was the idea of a much higher value.
These beads, their colors and shapes, did not leave my mind. I thought about them all the time. I also thought about other Ethiopian tribes, with their unique characteristic ornaments, the color combinations, sizes and shapes of the beads. Over time, in my photo archive hundreds of pictures of men and women of Ethiopian tribes of the North and the South of the country have accumulated, and the difference in the style of jewelry has become more evident. For example, for the northern Afar tribe the rhythmic, rich, dark and very contrasting patterns of small beads are typical, and for the southern Hammer tribe – the bright combinations of simple elements made with the large beads.
All of these considerations, as well as the longing for beaded collar of the Arbore girl, eventually crystallized into the idea of a of the jewelry collection inspired by Ethiopia. Into them I brought, of course, some modern elements that allow these things to naturally look in the “big city”, but their rhythm, their Ethiopian roots are fully preserved. I also kept the original materials from its homeland: I also think that there is something wrong with the Ethiopian jewelry made of Chinese beads. So I get the beads from Kenya, from the same place where the tribes of Ethiopia shop for their beads and eventually create earrings, bracelets, necklaces and belts, ingenious in their simplicity
I am starting to add the things that I make to the Jewellery category of this site, shop.inthetravellab.com and I hope you will like it.
I also want to say a special thank you to the girl of one of the most remote tribes on the planet Earth, as well as Birhanu, my Ethiopian friend and partner; the assistance and participation of these people in the project is priceless.
Yours, Einat Klein :)