Silver Tuareg Necklace with 5 Tiny Southern Crosses
The sterling silver pendants of this piece originate from a small child's necklace I found in the souks of Marrakech. The Croix du Sud are the Agdez version of the Southern Cross and they each measure 1 1/4" long by 3/4" wide. The black onyx necklace measures 17" inches long and contains red jade accent beads as well as several metal tube spacers which are typically found in so many Tuareg jewelry designs. The clasp is a sterling silver lobster claw style closure. Its compact design makes it easy to layer it over longer tribal jewelry for dance costuming. But it’s such a pretty little necklace you may want to wear it everyday!
The Tuareg people of the Sahara Desert traditionally use the stars to navigate and a constellation in the shape of a cross was used to orient them with the southern pole. This symbolism is reflected in their personal adornment with silver pendants called Croix du Sud or the Southern Cross.
There are 21 varieties; each one represents a specific area of Africa which identifies the wearer as a particular tribesman. These pendants were traditionally passed from Father to Son so that they may always know their place in the world, however, in modern times they are worn by both genders. The mark of the silversmith that fashioned the crosses can be seen on the back of each one.
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