Turkoman Jewelry

Turkoman Headdress

Wikipedia   “Historically, all of the Western or Oghuz Turks have been called Türkmen or Turkoman;however, today the terms are usually restricted to two Turkic groups: the Turkmen people of Turkmenistan and adjacent parts of Central Asia, and the Turkomans of Iraq and Syria.
Turkmen in Iran and Afghanistan remain very conservative in comparison to their brethren in Turkmenistan. Islam plays a much more prominent role in Iran and Afghanistan where Turkmen follow many traditional Islamic practices that many Turkmen in Turkmenistan have abandoned as a result of decades of Soviet rule. In addition, many Turkmen in Iran and Afghanistan have remained at least semi-nomadic and traditionally work in agriculture/animal husbandry and the production of carpets.”

Squidoo “The Turkmen people have traditionally been nomads and horsemen, and even today after the fall of the USSR attempts to urbanized the Turkmens have not been very successful. They never really formed a coherent nation or ethnic group until they were forged into one by Joseph Stalin in the 1930s. Rather they are divided into clans, and each clan has its own dialect and style of dress. Turkmens are famous for making gillams, mistakenly called Bukhara rugs in the West. These are elaborate and colorful rugs, and these too help indicate the distinction between the various Turkmen clans. “

Lapidary Journal  “Jewelry from central Asia is most often made of silver, with stones like carnelian, turquoise, and coral. At left, a Turkoman rhomboid pendant of fire-gilded silver and carnelian; at right, a five-element Uzbek nozi-gardon of turquoise, coral, and silver. The birds on the central pendant represent delight and protection, while the fish shapes hanging below represent male fertility.

Turkoman Tumar

 I have been collecting jewelry from around the world for 23 years, and Central Asian Jewelry has remained one of my favorites. The  tribal jewelry from Central Asia — Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan, all pit stops on the ancient Silk Route between China and the West. Uzbekistan, where we are headed, was also a hop, skip, and jump from the Lazurite Route, which connected Badakhshan, a region in northeast Afghanistan rich in mines of lapis, rubies, and other treasures, to the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and India. It was also close to the Nephrite Route, the jade connection between China and eastern Turkestan (Turkestan being an old term for Central Asia). So it’s no surprise that the jewelry from this region is fabulous — fire-gilded silver, carnelian, turquoise, coral — graceful, elegant, and daring.

The jewelry is that of tribal people — Uzbeks, Tajiks (Tadjiks), Kazakhs, Kyrghyz (Kirgiz), and Turkmen (Turkoman). Many of the objects came from Afghanistan and Pakistan, where commerce, until recently, was more open, and where many of these people live. Although these groups were introduced to Islam centuries ago, few women accept the veil. Their religion is a blend of Islam and previous traditions, evident in their daily lives, as well as in their adornments, many of which serve as good luck charms. They proudly keep the traditional ornamentation from disappearing into history.

Central Asian jewelry is so striking that the elaborate stone-inlaid items, stamped and engraved with graceful designs, might seem to be purely for the sake of adornment; in reality, almost all are amuletic in intent. In societies where superstition is prevalent, those most in need of protection (usually women, children, and sometimes livestock) are given specific amulets to wear.

Except for Tajiks, who speak a form of Persian and are descended from the earliest Indo-European settlers in the region, most Central Asian tribes were nomads of Turco-Mongolian heritage. Since their wandering ways have brought them to Iran, China, Tibet, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Iraq, and elsewhere, there are Kazakhs living in Turkmenistan and Turkmen in Tajikistan, and there is often a mingled influence of cultures in jewelry design and function.

Exquisite silver and gilt jewelry from the Turkoman tribes of Iran, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan are presented in the Old Word exhibition: Splendid Treasures of the Turkoman Tribes of Central Asia The exhibit of more than 20 objects hand crafted by the semi-nomadic Turkoman people features headdress ornaments, bracelets, earrings, rings and clothing clasps with carnelian and lavish decorative elements of silver and gold gilding.”

 The collection in our store, and visible through our website, has been collected over the past 23 years. It  includes jewelry created largely in the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth-century. Decorated with gilding, chains and semi-precious stones, each piece is imbued with symmetrical yet organic designs drawn from the tribes’ mythological interpretations of the natural world.

Turkoman Tekke Bracelets

The bold and intricate jewelry represents the Turkoman tribes’ form of transportable wealth worn for special festivities or daily adornment. Often large in size, these elaborate pieces were sewn onto clothing or attached to the hair. Unique tall headdresses were decorated with elaborate jewelry, often with bells and pendants hanging down from the temples. Some ornaments were purported to have special properties to keep the wearer safe. Tribe continuity was always precarious, so great importance was attached to weddings, birthdays and the survival of children. Young women of marriageable age wore special jewelry, which was replaced by more elaborate forms for the wedding ceremony, when a woman’s jewelry was enhanced by the dowry given by the groom and his family. Married women wore their extensive collections of jewelry until the birth of their first son, layering multiple pieces from the head to hands. Changes in hairstyles, too, reflected the change in social position, so Turkoman women adorned themselves with special hair ornaments to indicate their marital status.

Turkoman Asyk

 Old World Collection: Central Asian Jewelry

See our vast array of collectible beads, ancient agate, Afghani Wedding  Headdresses, Kohistani Child’s Vest, Turkoman Tekke Bracelets, and Tekke Jewelry, Bukharan Jewelry, Bedouin and Berber Jewelry, Venetian Trade Beads (African trade Beads) and Venetian fancies, 23 karat gold medallions, vintage Chinese enamel and cloisonné beads, Himalayan beads and jewelry, Pyu Period beads, Thailand Spirit Locks, Ancient stone beads, Nepalese purses, Rajasthani and other India Jewelry and much more.