top and cardigan - thrifted, bag from euphoria, shorts from bodhi imports, thrifted boots, ebay bootstraps, necklace c/o uber kuchi, charm bracelet from vestige, turquoise bracelet from a navajo trade post in arizona, thrifted belt
Probably the first thing you will notice in this post is that enormous and amazing piece on my neck. Along with other necklaces, a lot of the jewelry I wear come from countries around the world. This Afghan necklace is from Uber Kuchi, a perfect store on etsy with jewelry from Afghanistan, Central Asia, Africa and Israel. It is definitely worth a gander.
For those of you who are unaware, I would like to give you a lil' snip-it of insight into the world of Afghan jewelry and why you should buy.
As you know, thirty-some years ago the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, leaving millions of people flooding to refugee camps mostly in Pakistan and Iran, and others displaced around the country. Millions of land mines were placed all over the country, resulting in an ungodly amount of dead and disabled people, a lot of whom were women and children. Those same land mines and bombs exposed Afghanistan's natural gem deposits like Lapis Lazuli used to make some of the jewelry you see today. (*see bloggers wearing Lapis here and here.*) Cities were bombed, farms were bombed, generating lots of jobless and family-less people. In many instances, those that could work took jobs weaving carpets and making jewelry. In the early stages, wages were cheap, and the workers were predominantly female. Women learned the craft from being around other women, and warlords supplied them with gems to make some money.
Since there is no direct trade with Afghanistan, most of the Afghan jewelry you see was crafted in Pakistan or Turkey. In fact, the city of Peshawar in Northern Pakistan is referred to as "Afghan Town". Passed down from generations, a lot of women nowadays have learned to hand make this traditional inspired jewelry in refugee camps or from their own homes to support their families and afford education. They cut, sand, and polish the gems before they hand make each piece. Most organizations that sell their pieces are fair trade, where the women are paid well above local wages. Often this can help empower these women to leave abusive situations in which they couldn't otherwise flee due to financial suffering. Pretty rad, eh? I could go into it more, but you get the idea, and I need to take Sticky out before she takes another dump in my closet.
With that said, BUY FAIR TRADE (betcha didn't realize fair trade included things that weren't edible!). BUY AFGHAN JEWELRY. On top of it looking freaking AWESOME, you now know what you are supporting and in turn can sleep that much better at night.