Unique Jewelry Gifts from Around the World

Written by: Jon Altman | | Jewelry

The holidays are coming, and this time of year people find themselves scrambling for thoughtful gifts. It can be hard to locate exactly the right present for a loved one, especially if that person has…shall we say, unconventional?…taste. But just because your partner thinks outside the box doesn’t mean you have to forego the most traditional present there is: beautiful jewelry. The world is full of unique bangles and baubles, and one of them might be just the thing for your free spirit!

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India: Kamarbands

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Kamarbands, or waist chains, are silver or gold jewelry for women worn around the waist all across India. (Say the term out loud. Does it sound like familiar? There’s a reason! The word “cummerbund,” the part of the tuxedo worn around the waist, comes directly from this term.) The chains can be simple, single wraps, or more complex ornaments.

While your partner may not be likely to use this accoutrement traditionally, as part of a belly-dancing ensemble or under a sari, kamarbands are being popularized in the U.S. as decorative belts worn around skirts. They can even become beach-wear!

Ireland: Celtic Torques

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The Celtic people inhabited the British Isles and much of Western Europe for thousands of years.

Their jewelry has become associated primarily with Ireland; many people are familiar with Celtic knots as rings or bracelets, for instance. Torques are another, lesser known piece of Celtic jewelry. They are metal necklaces open in the front or in the back, and usually heavily adorned. In ancient times they were worn by royalty. Gods and goddesses were even depicted wearing torques as symbols of their power.

Sometimes the term torque is used to describe metal arm cuffs, as well. Either way, a beautiful crafted or even jeweled torque is the very definition of a “statement piece!”

 

Japan: Kanzashi

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Kanzashi are Japanese hair ornaments. The first kind of Kanzashi was a simple hair stick, worn to hold together an “up” hairdo like a bun. Their history dates back thousands of years (and includes a period during which they could double as weapons!), but Kanzashi have retained their popularity well into the modern age, especially for brides. Although these ornaments now include combs and folded paper flowers, we suggest sticking with the simple and going for a beautiful hair stick for your long-haired beau. You could find one made of precious metal or enameled one to add some extra shine to any outfit.

China: Enamel

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If you go the enameled hairstick route, then why not branch out to other jewelry? Enameling, a technique in which coloredglass powder is heated to a hard finish and fused to a metal like copper or silver, is a technique from around the world. The earliest known enameled objects are from the region around Greece. However, Chinese enamel is particularly famous. In the past 400 years, China has perfected the ancient art of cloisonne, a process in which enamel is fused to a series of very small compartments made of metal wire. The resulting enameled object can be more precise and more intricate.

You could try an enamel necklace ornament, like these cloisonne fish, or a more traditional beaded bracelet. Whichever way you go, be sure to wrap your gift carefully. Enamel is durable, but at the end of the day, it’s still made of glass!

Whether you pick a traditional gift or something with an international flavor, be sure that your next step is to insure it through Lavalier. It only takes a second to get a quote. When you finally decide on that perfect gift, get yourself one, too: peace of mind!

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