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All About Moroccan Jewelry

moroccan jewelry

All About Moroccan Jewelry

My love for Moroccan jewelry started in my childhood. I used to accompany my mother to the Medina, our city downtown, and look for authentic Moroccan jewelry pieces.

That was a passion many Moroccan women shared: Checking new and vintage jewelry arrivals and acquire pieces when the price of gold and silver was low. Banks weren’t very popular at the time and women used to invest the majority of their money in authentic Moroccan jewelry.

But that’s not all. Moroccan Women REALLY love jewelry and it’s not just materialistic. Every Moroccan woman and girl is proud of her jewelry box and all the jewelry pieces her mother or grandmother passed down to her, a well as those she was gifted or she acquired throughout the years. There is a sentimental attachment because each jewelry piece has a history of its own.

Vintage Moroccan jewelry
Moroccan Jewelry is part of Moroccan identity. Here Moroccan silver jewelry on young Berber girls hair (vintage)

That’s how I spent my childhood, listening to my grandmother, mother, and aunts’ jewelry stories. Now here I am, with a passion for Moroccan jewelry and antique Moroccan jewelry designs. Put me in a traditional Moroccan jewelry store and you won’t hear from me for hours!

Shopping Moroccan jewelry, whether online or in Morocco, can be very overwhelming for anyone who isn’t a Moroccan native or familiar with Moroccan culture. There are many factors to take into account during the search and buying process and one can easily end up overpaying or buying a counterfeit jewelry piece.

Tip: If you are visiting Morocco, check my Morocco Shopping Guide where I go through Morocco markets and Souks. This guide is so helpful when shopping cookware, handicrafts, and souvenirs in Morocco.

The contact I had with Moroccan jewelry since my young age grew my love for authentic vintage pieces and the history behind each emblematic design. Now, shopping Moroccan jewelry is still one of my favorite things to do in Morocco and with all the imitation out there, I cannot imagine anyone shopping authentic Moroccan jewelry without knowing the main designs and emblematic pieces to look for.

Moroccan Jewelry Emblematic Designs

For the connoisseurs, it is possible to guess where a Moroccan woman is from just by looking at her jewelry adornment. This is possible because each region of Morocco has its own jewelry designs.

Traditional Moroccan necklaces & earrings
Moroccan woman from the Atlas mountains wearing an Atlas necklace set | Vintage
Moroccan jewelry hamsa silver
Moroccan woman from Fez, wearing a Moroccan jewelry headband called Tabaa
|© Jean Besancenot, 1948

There are dozens of Moroccan jewelry designs and variations and it can take pages and pages to go through all of them.

The thing is, most Moroccan Antique jewelry pieces are expensive and hard to wear casually.

Moroccan traditional jewelry sets are a good example. Moroccan women are no longer wearing them unless on their wedding day, and even so, they only rent them for the occasion.

Moroccan bridal necklace
Moroccan bridal necklace set with lots of layers | © Si Photography

These heavy traditional items are very expensive due to their history charged value and if you are not an expert, you can easily make the wrong choice and buy a counterfeit.

Berber Moroccan jewelry set
Gorgeous Traditional Berber Jewelry set mixing Berber earrings, Berber head jewelry, and multiple traditional Berber necklaces |© exposed at Yves Saint Laurent Berber Museum, Marrakech

Fortunately, there are some traditional jewelry designs that are quite affordable, relatively easy to shop, and that go beautifully with modern fashion.

1. Moroccan Berber Necklaces

One of Morocco’s most emblematic jewelry pieces is the Berber necklaces. These necklaces are perfect for women who like stand-out pieces that add a lot of personality to their jewelry collection.

Moroccan berber necklaces amber
Moroccan Berber woman wearing Berber coral and amber necklaces (vintage)
© Foundation Pierre Bergé-YSL

Berber necklaces come in different sizes ranging from massive pieces to daintier ones. Authentic Berber necklaces are made with silver and genuine stones like amber, coral, and onyx. They can be quite pricey, costing up to thousands of dollars depending on the materials used and the weight of the necklace.

If a Berber necklace price is too low, it’s probably not authentic. In fact, unless you are looking for a replica, genuine Berber necklaces cheaper than $70-$80 simply don’t exist. And if you go for pricier stones likes Amber and Coral, your Berber necklace can’t cost less than a couple of hundred dollars.

The necklace below with Amber beads is an example of a heavy traditional Berber necklace, a staple on Berber engagement ceremonies, weddings, and baby showers. You can find similar ones here (genuine and nice replicas).

berber necklace coral
Heavy Berber coral necklace

The necklace below is an example of a dainty Berber necklace, handmade in Morocco, and true to Berber ancestral jewelry designs. It’s honestly one of my favorite Berber necklaces for either festive or casual wear. Very feminine and unique. I have the same and I always get compliments when I wear it. You can check it here.

berber necklace silver
Dainty silver Berber necklace

2. Moroccan Silver Bracelets

Moroccan silver bracelets are very popular in Morocco. Usually, the more the better, they can be worn single or layered in sets to achieve a great thickness in the wrists. There are many designs to choose from and they can be either simple or heavily engraved. The most popular ones are made of 925 silver sterling but there are many designs made of gold.

If you are looking for genuine bracelets, these Moroccan silver bracelets are pure charm. They are a little costly but believe me, they will stay sparkling and beautiful for decades!

For cheaper options, this Moroccan bracelet replica – $29 is one of my favorites!

vintage Moroccan silver bracelets
Moroccan woman from the Atlas Mountains, Morocco, wearing massive silver bracelets and multi-layers necklaces | © Jean Besancenot, 1950

3. Moroccan Hamsa Jewelry

Also called Khamsa, the Eye of Fatima or the Hand of Fatima, the Hamsa is a Moroccan-Jewish symbol representing a hand, believed to protect from evil and negative people. It is a classic in Moroccan jewelry.

Moroccan jewelry golden necklace
Beautiful Moroccan Gold Hamsa necklace

You can find the Hamsa in almost every jewelry item in Morocco: Hamsa necklaces, Hamsa pendants, bracelets, earrings, .. Hamsa hand jewelry is a real classic and most Moroccan women have at least a couple of pieces featuring this protecting symbol.

vintage Moroccan hamsa necklace
Moroccan woman wearing a silver Hamsa necklace (vintage)
silver hamsa necklace moroccan
Moroccan Hamsa necklace. Shop at Little Moroccan Things ©
hamsa anklet
Moroccan Hamsa anklet. Shop at Little Moroccan Things ©

Moroccan Jewelry Prices

Depending on your budget you can either shop authentic Moroccan jewelry made with precious materials and stones (like amber, coral and onyx) or opt for good quality replicas.

Replicas are great if you have a very limited budget. I have many Moroccan jewelry replicas from a couple of years ago and they still look amazing. You just need to be gentle with them and avoid contact with water and perfume.

If you want to invest in authentic Moroccan jewelry but can’t spend too much, look for silver-made jewelry like silver Hamsa necklaces, silver bracelets, as well as onyx-and-silver Berber necklaces (like the one I shared with you above!).

Silver costs way less than gold and is still a durable jewelry material that can be passed to many next generations. You can also acquire gold jewelry items if you focus on lightweight jewelry pieces.

Antique Moroccan Jewelry

Antique Moroccan jewelry is REALLY expensive. Most Moroccan women are content with the antique jewelry pieces they got from their mothers and grandmothers and rarely look to acquire more. In fact, it’s really hard to find a reliable vintage jewelry seller, whether you are shopping online or in Morocco.

Buying Jewelry in Morocco

In Morocco, the best place I go to purchase authentic Moroccan Jewelry is the Medinas, Moroccan cities’ downtown. This is true especially for the Medinas of historical cities like Marrakech, Fez, Rabat, Chefchaouen, Casablanca, and Tangier.

Although quite overwhelming, Moroccan Medinas are the perfect place to shop for jewelry and handicrafts. I don’t know one single person who didn’t feel excited in Moroccan Medinas! They are the heartbeat of Moroccan cities and where Moroccans shop for everyday necessities, the perfect place to shop, and be immersed in locals’ everyday life.

buying jewelry in Morocco
Moroccan Medinas are full of treasures, ready to be explored

In most Moroccan cities, Medinas are organized in sections for each shopping need: Moroccan jewelry, spices, rugs, traditional clothes, and so on. There are hundreds of thousands of products available and hundreds of variations for each product.

If you are planning on doing some shopping in Morocco, make sure you check my Morocco shopping guide. I love shopping in Morocco Medinas and I know it has a crazy shopping potential, but it can also be overwhelming and it’s best to know a few things before going there.

A couple of years ago, one of my cousins purchased an expensive Berber necklace only to realize days later it was made of fake amber.

This being said, you shouldn’t be worried if you shop mindfully. You can acquire jewelry that you can pass down to the next generation. Like my mother’s necklace that she got from her grandmother. It is extremely gorgeous and still in perfect condition. A true family treasure.

Master Moroccan Medinas and get what you want. Order my Morocco Ultimate Shopping guide.

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choose well your seller

Rated 5 out of 5
July 23, 2020

I had the bad experience of trusting a seller and buying a Berber necklace at $600. he told me it was made with precious beads. Well, it wasn’t and I was so disappointed back home. thank you for sharing your sources and links. it’s very helpful

danny

Gorgeous

Rated 5 out of 5
May 21, 2019

I knew nothing about Moroccan jewelry before coming to your post and now I feel confident with all your tips. Thank you for the great post and amazing pictures

Hugh

Great ebook

Rated 5 out of 5
May 6, 2019

I am glad i put my hands on you shopping guide. I would have wasted a lot of money if I havent read it. Thank you so much for the amazing tips (my favorite part was about Moroccan beauty products!!)

Lana

Interesting

Rated 5 out of 5
May 6, 2019

I loved everything about this article, the pictures, the description, the tips, thank you ❤

Candice

great blog

Rated 5 out of 5
April 24, 2019

I just purchased your ebook and I am planning to read it on the plane on my way to Morocco (in a few hours!!!!). thank you!

Sarah

Safaa, founder of moroccanzest

From design and decor to food and travel, moroccanzest is the space where I share what I loved growing up in Morocco, and more. It’s your destination for everything beautiful, artistic, and made the Moroccan way with love. Learn more about me here.