Nancy Sathre-Vogel - Oh Ethiopia!
This necklace screams Ethiopia! I lived there for seven years while teaching at the international school, and collected these pieces during that time.
The focal here is a Maria Theresa Austrian thaler coin. For some reason that nobody seems to know, these coins were the primary currency used throughout East Africa for many years.
The large round beads are known as Muria beads. These are the typical beads worn by women in the Ethiopian town of Harar. These are made of a high grade silver, but there is no way of knowing the exact silver content - they were most likely created with coin silver.
Muria beads are formed in two halves, then the halves are soldered together. They are filled with some sort of pitch or resin in order to prevent dings and dents.
This is a long necklace - the coin will hang below the breasts.
You are welcome to pick this piece up from my studio in Boise, or I’m happy to ship it free of charge.
If you are interested in matching earrings, please contact me.