This woman’s necklace which resembles North African Islamic prayer beads comprises dozens of wooden beads finely inlaid with silver and other metal, spherical agate or carnelian beads, and flattened, square amber and green coloured disks. The beads terminate in a large, stylised humanoid form of silk strands in multiple colours.
This necklace is more complex and the beads more intricate than most. Such necklaces were worn in Mauritania (where the metal-inlaid wooden beads were made) and southern Morocco where they were worn by guedra dancers who are swathed head-to-toe in fabric and veils but the necklace was worn over the garments and so visible to watchers. The necklaces tended to be worn wrapped around the shoulders to keep the veil in place.
A simpler, less intricate version is illustrated in Leurquin (2003, p. 57).
The example here is unusually good. There are minor losses to the inlay on some beads as should be expected. The set is decorative and wearable.
Corbett, S., ‘Guedra’, Ethnic Jewels Magazine (online).
Leurquin, A., A World of Necklaces: Africa, Asia, Oceania, America from the Ghysels Collection, Skira, 2003.