In the Old English vocabulary, a bede is a prayer, and the devout counted their Hail Marys by fingering rosaries. Eventually, the word for prayer got absorbed into the thing which kept count and hence I have, in the palm of my hand, a bead. A round shiny prayer. Which is maybe why I love beads so much - they are our silently bidding gone out into the world; wearing them is full of longing and desire.
Among the Konyak people of Nagaland (in far Eastern India), beads are a serious part of celebrations. As you can see on these Konyak women above, gathering for their annual tribal festivities, wearing the ornaments they have strung is a kind of expression of the prayers they have harbored, gleaming under the mountain sun.
Glass beads, shell buttons and camel bone are still used by Konyak women to create necklaces and belts, not only for their own ceremonies, but also for you. Ibu is so lucky to collaborate with this country’s preeminent Naga textile and jewelry expert, Harry Neufeld, and his wife, designer Tiala, in bringing you these striking pieces. Tiala is from Nagaland and is working with me on amazing tunics for this fall as she single-handedly revives the weaving tradition among her people. Coming soon. . .
But thenecklaces are here! Long statement pieces, short collars, and in-between. They look great under a crisp white shirt with jeans. Over a simple dress or sweater = major update. Belts look très chic over a long tunic or tee. Great color combos: chocolate with a zingy chartreuse, turquoise with deep earth and touches of red . . you’ll have to see to love!
Plus, best of all, while old Naga pieces are pricey, these new pieces are affordable and stunning. And made, of course, by women artisans like these. Yes, I was thinking of you when I brought home this beauty . . .
I hope you’ll run your fingers over them often and set your silent hopes aloft. Prayers for this fragile, amazing world.
all the best,
Susan Hull Walker