Afghan jewellery plays an important role in the way in which Afghan women accessorize their traditional clothes. Without the stunning chunky Afghan jewellery , the traditional dress (Gandi Afghani) will look bare and incomplete like Romeo without Juliet.
The Afghan jewellery is not just popular among Afghans for its beauty; it also has a captivating history that dates back to thousands of years and shadows the ancient routes that interlaced through Afghanistan.
As I grew up in the West, I have developed a love for the culture, colour and life that sparks out of Gandi Afghani and its jewellery . I have always been intrigued by the designs and colours used to create the traditional clothes and the jewellery and I’ve always wanted to know the history behind these stunning designs, so I have decided to explore and find out.
Afghan traditional clothes and jewellery are originated from the Kuchis in Afghanistan. Kochis or Kuchis (from the Persian word: کوچ koch; meaning “migration”) are Afghan Pashtun nomads, primarily from the Ghilji tribal confederacy.
They used to migrate or wander on borders between Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Pakistan they used to move towards Indus Valley and in the west they used to move towards Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Some of the most distinguished Ghilji Kochi tribes include the Kharoti, Andar and Ahmadzai. Authentic Tribal jewellery takes not only a culturally idealized outward appearance, but also reflects a way of life that is steeped in socio-cultural tradition.
In the 21st century, the Afghan Kuchi jewellery is frequently referred to as nomadic jewellery. Research reveals that countless challenges were faced by the Afghan traditional clothes and jewellery in its history. During the Soviet occupation period and the time of the Mujahedin and the Taliban, many personally owned pieces were sold.
The Afghan Kuchi jewellery is distinguished on the basis of whether the pieces are made of costly materials, imported pieces, or made of beads. The more expensive pieces of jewellery are generally created using precious and semiprecious stones worked in the metal and inlay settings by metal craftsmen in public workshops.
The more expensive the jewellery, then it has most likely derived from the Afghan environment, it will have precious stones carved in which would be found in mountainous or riverine areas. Those types are generally worn on special occasions, while the less costly ornaments made from imported materials are worn on an everyday occasion.
The most distinguished Kuchi jewellery pieces are those that are worn by young women for special occasions like their Nikka (Muslim wedding or engagement celebration), because jewellery made of precious and semiprecious material are generally worn on those days.
More simpler jewellery that is worn by Afghan women every day in Afghanistan are made from cotton-stung Mora (beads) and coins also natural products such as cloves, nuts, and clay that are easily found locally in Afghanistan.
Not only is the Afghan jewellery available in Afghanistan, they are now also sold worldwide, of course, for a much higher price than that in Afghanistan. I always wondered why that was.
I believe for Afghans to import Afghan jewellery from Afghanistan and sell it in the West or other parts of the world would be for business reasons. But why are non-Afghans so keen to purchase these products at such a high price?
Well, a look at the images below answers this question. Of course, it is because of the beautiful work done to these pieces, full of detail, colour and culture. But is it also because of what’s trending in the West?
As a young person living in the West, I have come to realise that in fact it is because Afghan jewelry is now trending. I see people from all corners of the World in London, walking past me every morning and each day I do not fail to see a female wearing such jewellery that is, if not exactly the same, then similar to Afghan jewellery.
People are developing a love for the Afghan style. I see the Afghan clothes worn by top ranked models on catwalk shows. I sometimes get the feeling that the Afghan culture has really taken over the West by a storm.
Some people claim that it is not just the Afghan culture that those pieces, fashion shows, artists represent. But I genuinely believe it is from the routes of our very own Afghanistan.