The Dorothy Methvin McClatchey Collection
Afghanistan, Iran or Turkmenistan
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.