A collectible extra-extra large stunning Turkmen pendant
There is jewelry and then there is JEWELRY. Take, for example, this spectacular (and spectacularly large) piece of antique jewelry from Turkmenistan.
Entirely handmade using age-old techniques, this piece is made out of a thick silver alloy sheet which ensures its sturdiness- this jewelry can't be easily bent! The pendant has two distinct stone-studded units- linked to each other with handmade loop-in-loop chains that also go on to form the cascading fringe at the bottom of the main unit. Signature bulbous oval and navette shape beads hang from these chains, forming an impressive border. Fun fact: the sound of the beads clattering together with movement is said to alert admirers and scare away demons!
The main pendant (2nd unit) has an Adamlyk shape - or that of a stylized female. Engraved with abstract patterns resembling flame, birds and floral designs, it is the gold gilding, and the ensuing bi-metal look, that is perhaps the most distinctive feature of Turkmen jewelry. Another recognizable feature is the prominent bezel set stones- whether genuine carnelians or imitation red stones. The red colour symbolizes vitality, fertility, and happiness, and thus, in the hostile desert and steppe landscape, they acquire a particular significance. Strategically placed, these stone are also believed to ward off the evil eye.
Pendants like these, depending on their size and shape, were worn by Teke Turkmen tribal women as braid and hair ornaments, necklaces, or sewn onto their garments, often in pairs with one along each shoulder.
This pendant comes ready to wear strung on a cotton-silk hand-wrapped thread cord. A warm patina remains, giving this old necklace a glow that only the passage of time can create. You should definitely consider framing this beauty if such large neckpieces are not your thing. That's what I did.
I've been a big fan of Turkmen jewelry since my design college days- drooling over pages of books on Central Asian ethnic jewelry. It amazes me and thrills me that over the years I've finally built a decent enough collection that today I can share a few pieces with all of you.
Composition: ~ 80% Silver + red and green glass stones.
Stamped: No visible markings.
Measurements: 31.5 cms long and 7 cms at the widest.
Weight: 111.14 gms
Age: early 20th century.
Country of origin: Turkmenistan/Central Asia
Please note: (1) All the jewelry in this collection is vintage, and thus neither new nor in mint condition. Wear, dents, scratches, oxidation etc. are in keeping with the age of the jewellery.
(2) All the jewellery has been gently cleaned to remove surface dirt and oils but not the patina- which in our view adds immensely to the appeal of vintage pieces. While in great condition (none of the jewellery is broken/chipped/in need of repair), all were previously owned by someone else, and while not perfect each is full of old history and charm. Please use accompanying photographs to make your decision and be sure to ask any questions you may have before purchase.
(3) It is also worth reminding that since the jewellery is shot in close-up mode, the pieces may look bigger than actual size. Conversely, some large pieces may look smaller in pictures. Always refer to the mentioned dimensions.