My most impressionable encounter with bold and powerful jewellery is with bedouin adornments. With a penchant for found objects and jewels of the nomadic past, my mama would return from her weekly Friday visits to the souk of Omdurman with one or more of such pieces. Spanning a lifetime of collecting, hundreds of old silver jewellery pieces imbued with a rich history made their way into our home, slowly captivating my interest.
Originating from various parts of the Arabian Peninsula, bedouin jewellery reached Sudan and other parts of the Horn of Africa through Arab trade in the mid 1800s. Nomadic merchants belonging to powerful tribes such as the Rashaida, Baggara, Hadendwa and Beni Amer brought precious silver ornaments via the Spice Routes.
Jewellery does not exist in a vacuum, it is an important window to the past. It tells us so much about historical heritage, about the women who wore them, their cultures and traditions, religious beliefs and socio-economic status in society. This couldn't be truer for bedouin jewellery. As I began to treasure the stories and intrigued to learn more, my fascination with its history and aesthetic grew.
The appreciation for the strong women of the desert and for their historically-rich and symbolic-imbued jewels, culminated in the creation of the Badawi collection. Badawi is the Arabic term for bedouin. This collection transcends time and space by fusing the essence of traditional Bedouin aesthetic with a modern interpretation, creating unique contemporary pieces made in precious metals and embellished with coloured gemstones.
This collection pays homage to, and sheds light on, the historical and cultural heritage of Bedouin ornaments in a bid to humbly keep their stories alive.