The Dorothy Methvin McClatchey Collection


Cuff Bracelets

Afghanistan, Iran or Turkmenistan
20th Century

The Teke are one of the many nomadic Turkmen groups that inhabit Turkestan, a region encompassing parts of modern Afghanistan, Iran and Turkmenistan. Jewelry has always played a significant role in the lives of Teke and other Turkmen women in this region, serving as symbols of wealth and prestige. For most nomadic groups in this region, jewelry serves as a form of valuable, transportable capital that can be sold in case of hardship. Heavy sleeve-like bracelets are commonly worn in pairs by Teke and other Turkmen women. While abundant metal resources exist in Turkestan, these were not exploited during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Instead, Russian, Chinese and Iranian coins were smelted to provide the silver for most Turkmen jewelry. These Teke bracelets are made of four rows of silver gilt which are set with carnelian stones. Engraved linear arabesque designs encircle the bracelets and decorative gallery wire is soldered onto the base of the cuffs. Fire gilding was most likely used for the gold application.