Tribal Jewelry


Tribal Jewelry is worn by different indigenous tribes in Nepal. From the north in the Himalayas to the South in the Terai region bordering India, Nepal has dozens of ethnic tribes. While in the north there is much use of tribal jewelry based on stones (agate, turquoise) and in the south the more metallic (silver and gold). The midlands have a more a mixture of both metal and stones. Different forms of jewelry are used both by men and women. Most popular are tribal earrings, tribal necklaces, tribal necklace, tribal rings and tribal necklaces for men. Both natural and synthetic types of beads are also quiet popular among the different tribes in Nepal.

Here is a sample of Tibetan Tribal jewelry made of turquoise.

Tibetan women Tribal Jewelry

Tibetan women Tribal Jewelry

Turquoise has been extensively found in the Tibetan tribal jewelry of Nepal. Although coral is not naturally found in Tibet or in the Himalayas, this stone is a very popular stone in Tibetan Tribal jewelry. Over time Turquoise, if untreated changes colors. In the early stages it is usually bright and green but over long periods of time it will become darker. This symbolizes the life circle of birth, growth and eventual death. Turquoise is also known to be a stone that is protective in nature. That is why many travelers were this stone. An ornament to enhance beauty, turquoise is also believed to have the powers to attract the opposite sex.

Coral symbolizes health, luck and fortune. Although there are no coral deposits in Tibet, the stone was imported from other parts of the world. And over centuries it was kept in Tibet. Many of these corals and now re-exported from Tibet as Tibetan Coral. Silver and gold is also extensively used in the Tibetan tribal jewelry.

Bones are also quiet often used in the Himalayan region. Bone jewelry made of Yak and also at times humans are used by both individuals and also religious practitioners.

The people in the midlands and the low-lands of Nepal of Nepal use mostly metals like gold and silver. Metals are used not only for their aesthetic value but also as a show of power and wealth. Many indigenous jewelry in Nepal use 18 Carat gold and also 92.5% silver is used.

The Limbu and the Rai tribes in the mid-lands of Nepal use fairly large sized tribal jewelry. See picture below of a Rai women with her traditional tribal jewelry.

Tribal Jewelry Nepal

The Newar community in Kathmandu valley has also for centuries used their own version of Tribal jewelry. Known for their hand-work, the Newars of Kathmandu were very affluent as traders. They would trade between Tibet and India. As travelers they were able to observe and also adapt many of the cultures of both traditions, including the use of similar material in their jewelry.

Limbu Tribal Jewelry

Limbu Tribal Jewelry

The Terai region is very much influenced by North Indian cultures. This is also reflected in the tribal jewelry that they were.