This long and large necklace comprises two pairs of six strands of woven silver wire cords with embossed terminals from which is suspended a large silver repoussed square box decorated with a sizeable coral-coloured cabochon. At the of the end – the end that would be worn on the back of the wearer – is a large silver, pierced, domed clasp.
The box was intended as an amulet holder – a protective talisman.
Such necklaces were worn by wealthy married women of the Tamang ethnic group who are based north of Kathmandu. Such large necklaces were a way of storing wealth, and because they were worn, that wealth was thus well protected. The necklaces could be sold if the family needed funds.
Such necklaces ‘count among the most spectacular and popular jewellery items in Nepal’, according to Gabriel (1999, p. 100), who suggests that the form of the amulet box has been influenced by the ga’u amulet boxes worn in Tibet.
The example here is in excellent condition but with obvious age.
Gabriel, H., Jewelry of Nepal, Thames & Hudson, 1999.
Giehmann, M., Himalayan Treasures: Adornments from Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Ladakh & Arunachal Pradesh: The Manfred Giehmann Collection, 2019.
Leurquin, A., A World of Necklaces: Africa, Asia, Oceania, America from the Ghysels Collection, Skira, 2003.