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Ethnic and Tribal Jewelry
Sold pieces that we may be able to acquire again!

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:: Wholesale prices (to shops) are listed :: Retail prices (to individuals) are double ::

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Old Dayak earweights

*old Dayak tribe Borneo pear gasing ear weights*

Old Dayak tribe earweights are available occasionally...
mostly women's heavy pear shapes (aka gasing, spinning tops).
Please click on the above thumbnail images to view the pieces at actual size.
These antique pieces are for both wearing and collecting alike-very few examples of traditional Borneo earweights are still available. I feel the best way to honor old jewelry like this is to continue it's use and the artisan's intentions by wearing them.
The detail and heaviness of these weights speak from a period when time flowed a bit more slowly...
These are getting harder to find, and also more expensive. Please call for a price quote.
As an example, the above pear shapes would be at least $300/pair now.
We can get very old pairs from collectors for around $600/pair and up.

Dayak is a generic name for the indigenous tribal peoples of Borneo island,
the top third of which encompasses the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah,
with the small sultanate of Brunei sandwiched in between, and
the lower two thirds are the Indonesian territory of Kalimantan.
Dayak tribe names include Iban, Kayan, Kenyah, nomadic Penan, Punan, Kelabit, Kadazan, Dusun, Bidayuh, Bukitan, Lun Bawang, Maloh, Benuaq, Ukit, Ngaju, Murut, and many others.
Orang ulu is the collective name for the tribal people who live 'upriver' in the interior and highlands of Borneo, as opposed to those closer to the coasts.

New Dayak earweights

*new Dayak tribal Borneo earrings*

*new Dayak tribe Borneo ear weights*

New bronze Dayak earweights from Borneo, as shown in the top two rows, were only $40/pair!
All styles are currently sold out, but you can ask to be put on a wait list for when we get more - most likely when I travel to SE Asia again. Please click on these thumbnail images to view ones at real size.

In the top row are thorny aso's, black and blonde large aso's;
the middle row has dragons, single aso, and double aso.
Aso is the Dayak term for the mythical dragon/dog beast
that is prevalent in their carving, painting, and tattoo designs.

The copper coils on the bottom left are old, but are singles, and were inexpensive; pairs are much more.
Pairs of bronze coils and C-shapes are very hard to find and quite expensive.
The silver sets of weights on the bottom right are old Dayak girls' sets
and were $80/set on average - prices now will be considerably higher.

*bird elephant Dayak tribe tribal bronze ear weights*

Here we show another pair of new Dayak bronze earweights,
in a large version of the enigmatic bird/elephant design.
These went for $60/pair and were 1.5-1.6oz (42.5-45.4g)/each. SOLD

Newer old-style Dayak earweights

*new old Dayak ear weights earrings*

Another category of Dayak ear weights are newer pairs that were still being made in the old ways, not quick and unrefined castings. While these do not have the same age, they are still well-finished, have softer edges, and show the refinement that authentic Dayak ear weights are intended to have.

*good new Borneo Orang Ulu Dayak tribal pear gasing earweights*

New Dayak women's 'pear' or gasing (spinning top) shaped heavy brass earweights were $100/pair. SOLD
They were quite heavy as this style traditionally are, weighing 139grams or 4.9oz each!
Good quality repro's like these are rather hard to find
compared to the bulk of the new cheap pairs found on today's market.
Pages 274-275 of A World of Earrings and p. 279-280 of Power and Gold have good pictures of old pairs.
Old pairs of birdie/elephants, coils, gasing, and aso weights are shown on p. 228-229 of Ethnic Jewellery.

New Guinea shell septums

*New Guinea shell septums* *PNG tribal shell septums* *Asmat tribe shell septums bipane*

These are several examples of giant men's shell septum jewelry from Irian Jaya
(the West half of New Guinea under the Indonesian flag; the east half is Papua New Guinea aka PNG).
Please click on the above thumbnail images to view the pieces at actual size.
These are referred to by the Asmat tribe as bipane, though their use is not limited to this one tribe.
These are all authentic pieces, made to be worn as jewelry in huge septum piercings. Nose bleeding rituals are common there, often as a rite of passage and as a means of periodic bleeding amongst males.
There is a bit of dark and sometimes fragrant resin in the center of the shell septum pieces (and sometimes stuffed into the hollow part of the bone septums shown below) that is softer and more oval than flat in cross section and more comfortable than if just the shell was worn. This is rumored to either be beeswax or tree resins. It can easily be heated and reshaped with the fingers using steam (such as from a tea kettle).
The pieces above have sold, but shell septums generally range from $30-$75/each depending on size - the average price being $60/each.

*New Guinea tribal shell septums ooch*

Two different large Asmat tribe (Irian Jaya, Indonesian New Guinea) bipane
shell septum pieces with dark fragrant resin in the centers, which sold for $70/each.
Check out p. 210 (shell) and p. 212 (bone) in The Splendor of Ethnic Jewelry for examples of these.

New Guinea bone septums

*New Guinea Bone Septums ooch* *pig bone septums otsj*

*PNG pig bone septums*

These pig bone septum pieces are also from Irian Jaya and made for men's huge septum piercings.
I have heard the word ooch or otsj being used to refer to New Guinea septum pieces such as these.
They range in size from around 1/2" to over 1-1/8" to insert! Prices usually start at $60/each.
Please click on the above scans to view the pieces at actual size.

*wholesale versus retail prices reminder*

South Indian gold that is currently in stock
can be found on our ethnic jewelry of India page.

Gold earweights from South India

*south indian gold high karat 22K pampadam traditional earrings*
*south indian gold pampadam ear weights*

Amazing South Indian golden earweights, aka pampadam, such as those shown above,
have intricately braided gold wire bundles that allow the tops to be flexible
when the pieces are opened with hidden internally threaded closures.
Probably 22k gold. These were $400/pair before gold prices shot up, and I would expect them to be much higher than that now. We've seen them sell for upwards of $1,500 in the past.
The current price of gold, size, weight, age, condition, and other factors will affect future pricing.
I only sold these since I already had a similar pair in my personal collection.
Examples of South Indian jewelry such as this can be found on page 149 in the book Ethnic Jewellery and in Traditional Jewelry of India, both of which I highly recommend.

*south india gold earweights thandatti*

These amazing pieces are called thandatti and are worn by women in South India.
They are shown larger than life sized. These were $750 for this particular pair before gold prices went up.
Though not marked, 22K-23K is the traditional standard of gold in these regions.
The large ball shape is the end of a hidden screw shape, which has a "backward" threading pattern. After removing this screw, the top crescent opens up on a hinge to allow the weights to be hung on the lobes.
They are probably filled with lac to prevent the high karat gold from getting crushed from use.
Please ask for more information and images if this type of jewelry interests you.
Other pieces from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in South India may be obtained upon request.
Examples of these can be found on page 124 and 148 in the book Ethnic Jewellery.

Indian gold earrings and ear cuffs

For an excellent reference source of Indian gold jewelry,
please see p. 218-226 of Traditional Jewelry of India.
All of the Indian gold earrings depicted in this section have SOLD,
though we can sometimes get similar pairs if you are interested!

*small south indian gold cuffs*

*small south indian gold cuffs*

Gorgeous small South Indian high karat gold earrings/earcuffs (ananthamudichu), usually from Kerala.
There is a hidden internally threaded pin in the center, the top is a hinge,
and they wrap around a stretched lobe like an earcuff.
The top image of each set is real-sized; the larger images are extreme close-ups to show detail.
These beauties usually ranged from around $250-$350/pair (these are old gold prices).
Prices depend largely upon weight and the current price of gold.

*indian gold earrings*

*indian gold earrings*

While these exact pairs have SOLD, we do run across them now and then.
Just let us know if you'd like to be on our wait list.
Reference sources include p. 120 in A World of Earrings and
p. 149 of Ethnic Jewellery, as well as the diagram mentioned below.

Indian gold earplugs

*south indian gold ear plugs*

South Indian high karat gold earplugs. Exquisite! SOLD.
For reference, see p. 126 in A World of Earrings, and
image 452 on p. 223 in Traditional Jewelry of India.

*south indian gold pressure fit plugs*

South Indian high karat gold earplugs. SOLD.
Back flare, inside of front flare, and front views shown.
The backs pressure fit into the fronts instead of the usual internally threaded screw design.

South Indian barbells

There is a great diagram depicting dozens of styles of multiple ear cartilage piercings, with Tamil names of the accompanying jewelry, on p. 218 of Traditional Jewelry of India. Highly recommended!
Gold koppu pieces similar to those below can also be seen on p. 149 of Ethnic Jewellery.
They are all internally threaded (left/"backwards" threading) with ornate ends.
These styles are extremely similar to modern body piercing jewelry where they are referred to as barbells ;)
For example, see p. 141 in Earrings: Ornamental Identity and Beauty in India, where examples with round ends worn by Muslim women in Karnataka are called gundi or tinki and are traditionally worn in the helix of the upper ears.

*south Indian gold teardrops upper earrings*

South Indian high karat gold upper ear pieces (though of course do not have to be worn there!)
feature internally threaded barbells and long gold drops. $350/pair. SOLD

*South Indian gold upper ear internally threaded barbells*

South Indian high karat gold upper ear internally threaded barbells.
Called lavanga kadi; named after the clove.
Around 13ga. $250/pair. SOLD
A pair that looks identical can be seen within the Tamil Nadu section
on p. 235 of Earrings: Ornamental Identity and Beauty in India.
Also see p. 138-140 ibid for more ornate pairs harkening from Karnataka.
There they are called bugudi or bugdi. The tops can sometimes be quite elaborate and resemble the tops of temples, called kalasha, and they are occasionally found with dangling tiny pearls (moti).

Old Burmese amber plugs

For published examples of these Hkakhu (Kachin) patlokan amber plugs, please see:
p. 166 in Ethnic Jewellery,
p. 240 in A World of Earrings,
p. 20-21, 198, and 233 in The Vanishing Tribes of Burma,
p. 8, 99, 124-125, and 127 in Burma: Frontier Photographs,
and p. 78-79 and 127 in Jewelry of Southeast Asia.
Whew! Talk about well-documented! Not to mention very collectable...

*Burmese patlokan crayon amber ear plugs*

Old Burmese amber (Burmite) plugs in the traditional shape that is similar to giant crayons!
Called patlokan. The tips have some old damage.
$200/pair. SOLD

*Assam Burmite burmese amber ear plugs*

Old Burmese amber plugs, collected from Assam.
Rare examples of authentic tribal body jewelry made from amber.
These are usually attributed to the Hkakhu tribe of Burma.
Shorter examples with flat ends are shown.
Between 1/2" and 9/16". $80/pair. SOLD

Ancient Cambodian glass plugs

*Cambodian glass earplugs*
*ancient Cambodian glass ear plugs*

Yellow glass earplugs ancient ear plugs from Cambodia, estimated to be 500 to 1000 years old!
While some pieces are similar enough to be close to pairs, all are individual and unique.
Some have straight shafts and flat discs, and some have flared ends like insect bodies with rounded discs, which make them look overall like little mushrooms.
The ones depicted have SOLD, though we can get singles and less matched pairs. $25-30/each piece.
Page 210 in A World of Earrings shows various ancient glass plugs,
including a pair with a similar overall shape.

Maasai beaded earcuffs

*Maasai earclips ear cuffs beads* *Maasai ear clips cuff beaded*

Maasai ear cuffs (aka earclips).
These have many colorful beads set on wire.
Two views are shown of the same three pairs.
$30/pair. All have now SOLD.

Maasai women's leather ear flaps

*Maasai leather ear flaps*

Maasai women's leather gonito ear flaps, traditionally worn in large earlobe piercings.
This gorgeous pair came on a very sturdy black colored metal stand (not shown). $80/set. SOLD
Click on this small thumbnail to view a life-sized scan.

*Maasai Leather Beaded Flaps*

These Maasai women's ear pieces have beads and metal (tin?) and buttons sewed onto them for decoration. Click on the small scan to view them at their full size. One piece out of each pair is shown. $60/pair SOLD.

Please note: we can usually get more pairs of Maasai leather ear flaps - just ask!!!

Turkana tribe septum jewelry

*Turkana septum jewelry*

Aluminum Turkana men's leaf-shaped akaparaparat septum pieces with stamped designs.
These can also be seen worn by Pokot men, and in the upper ears of Turkana women.
While these exact pieces have SOLD, we can get very similar ones.
Prices have gone up from the last time we acquired these. I anticipate them being around $60-$65/each.
For an image of a man wearing one, please see p. 15 in Africa Adorned.

Turkana tribe labrets

*Turkana tribe atepes labrets* *Turkana labret jewelry* *Turkana tribal labrets*

Copper and other metal Turkana atepes labrets:
women's (around $60/each) and men's (around $75/each).
These exact pieces have SOLD, but we can usually get very similar ones. Prices are estimated.
The Turkana are from Kenya, East Africa. These labrets are also worn by related tribes.
Page 33 in Africa Adorned shows an example of this type of labret.

*Turkana labret*

This Turkana labret has SOLD; it was likely a women's labret.

*Turkana tribal woman with labret*

Erica took the above picture at a body art museum in Malacca, Malaysia! The caption read: "This elaborately adorned married Toposa woman of Southern Sudan has a long wire piercing her lower lip."

Please click here to view the old archive page for
Don Purple and Indigenous Piercing Wear!

Click the thumbnails below
to view our selection of ethnic jewelry from various parts of the world.







:: Natural and Traditional Materials ::
Bamboo | Amber | Horn and Bone
Stone | Hardwood | New Silver and Bronze
Newly Acquired Jewelry | Labrets | Septums | Singles |

:: Ethnic and Tribal Jewelry :: Introduction
India, Nepal, Tibet | Mainland and SE Asia | Middle East |
Africa | Western Hemisphere (The Americas) | Sold

:: Related Items ::
Bracelets | Other Goodies | Twilight

:: Support Pages and Helpful Information ::
Home | Ordering Information | Link Map | Download Catalog | Contact Organic
Care Instructions | Material Information | Wood Hazards | Wood Anatomy
Size Conversion Chart | About Us | Trades | Photo Gallery | Links and Books

:: Wholesale prices (to shops) are listed ::
:: Retail prices (to individuals) are double ::


:: Website created by Erica Skadsen on 1 July 1997 ::
© Organic LLC 1997-2017

*red dayak flower*