Tag Archive for Handcast Jewelry

Pages from My Niger Log

The women in my family have learned to juggle from an early age; we wear many hats, as most women do. On my recent trip to West Africa for my “day” job, I stopped by the artisan center at the National Museum in Niamey, Niger. Of particular interest were the metal workers, ranging from traditional Toureg silversmiths to master craftsmen dealing in bronze and other metals.

This craftman’s work caught my eye and I was curious to see what he was making.

Metal artisan

A master at work

Turns out he was handcasting brass in the shape of cowrie shells. Take a look:

Nigerien Craftsman

Metal worker at the National Museum in Niger

I ordered several with the intention of incorporating them into a necklace, maybe earrings. He made these for me in a couple of days.

brass cowrie shells

Cast brass cowrie shells

I’m observing his technique and checking out the goods before placing an order to spec.

RAM with Nigerien Metalsmith

Checking out the goods

Okay, I’m convinced. I’ll take about a dozen. Let’s seal this deal.

Sealing the Deal

Sealing the deal with a smile

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