This study collection of jewelry from the Sahara Desert was made by Angela Fisher for her book, Africa Adorned – a study of pan African jewelry published in 1984. It reveals the rich and diverse jewelry of the Sahara which reflects the ways in which the desert nomads, the Tuareg and the Moors evolved.
The Tuareg refused to integrate with other tribes and were strongly influenced by the austerity of the desert, largely devoid of plant and animal life. The purity of line in their designs stems from the simplicity of the world around them and the influence of the Southern Cross, the galaxy of stars which guide their camel caravans by night.
The Moors in contrast, although similar in concept, have jewellery of a more ornate and flamboyant style. For centuries the Moors have been influenced through intermarriage with the peoples of the Savannah to the south, the Arabs, to the north and sea trade from the Atlantic. The resulting influence of introduced techniques and materials gave their jewelry an attractive sophistication and development of detail, but at the same time robbed them of the tradition of purity of form which still gives the jewelry of the Tuareg its startling impact.