African earrings come in a variety of colors and textures. If you're in the market for some unique, eye-catching jewelry, here are some must haves (in no particular order):
- Gold African Earrings - Gold earrings can be fashioned from brass or brass metal mix. This is an inexpensive way for designers to work their craftsmanship while still offering a beautiful, precious metal-like look and feel. Brass can also be polished up with household items such as vinegar, lemon or ketchup, but I prefer a brass cleaner like Wright's Copper and Brass Cream Cleaner.
- When to wear it: Due to the color and shine, gold earrings these are great for more formal events and a wonderful accessory to glam up any outfit.
- Silver African Earrings - These are made out of lightweight aluminum and are a malleable material for the designers. To add texture to the earrings, etched patterns are added in them which are then wiped over with charcoal or shoe polish to create a shading in the grooves. What emerges is a beautiful contrasting design.
- When to wear it: these type of earrings are great with denim or casual outfit choices.
- Beaded African Earrings - These are very popular in our store. The beading culture is native to mostly Eastern and some parts of Southern Africa. The beads are sourced internationally and assembled by hand.
- When to wear it: colorful and bold they are perfect for adding a punch of color to your outfit and work well with either formal attire like a black dress or top or casual, fun tops.
- PRO TIP: match the dominant color of the beaded earring to the dominant color of your top (even if you have a jacket on. If there's no dominant color, you can match it to any color on the earring.
- Ankara or African Print Earrings - These are rarer earrings to find. The fabric is usually more native to more West African nations, although all regions in Africa have their own rich history with fabric. "African Print" is a catch-all term for many types of patterns and prints. Ankara is fast becoming a replacement for that term. Different prints are native to different regions and even countries in Africa. Quality and patterns are sometimes controlled by just a few companies who distribute around the world. Ankara earrings are often made by cutting the fabric and attaching the earring hooks.
- When to wear it: these are lovely for creating a bohemian or artsy look.
- Bone African Earrings - Making earrings out of bone is an ancient artform found in African, Indigenous and Native American cultures. The earrings are constructed from repurposed cow bone. African jewelry and art are functional, so the ideas for new designs usually come from whatever is easily attainable. This leads to naturally eco-friendly and locally sourced materials. Bone can also be dipped in acid to create patterns like the beautiful giraffe pattern earrings below!
- When to wear it: bone earrings are elegant and have a modern look. Because they are hard to dye, they tend to not come in mostly earth tone colors. They are good for those who like simple yet unique style choices.
- Wooden African Earrings - And finally wooden African earrings are loved for their many shapes and sizes. They can also be painted with designs, carved out in the center or burned to create patterns. They are made from eco-friendly materials one of which is coconut wood. These can come with beautiful different metal decorative touches.
- When to wear it: Wood earrings communicate a delicate yet creative style sensibility, this goes well with a similarly colored sundress or plain white/black top to draw attention to the earrings.
SAVE MONEY WITH THIS TIP:
These are just a few of the different kinds of earrings one can buy that are made in Africa. And as promised the cost-saving tip: if buying jewelry while traveling in Africa, make sure to buy from the local open-air markets rather than in stores in a shopping mall. These stores have big markups in price sometimes and oftentimes source their jewelry from those same vendors in the open market.
If you're back home (outside of Africa) particularly in the West, jump online and search for some of the earrings above.
And of course, you can always shop online at The Afropolitan Shop :)
Got a question about African earrings? Drop it below in the comments.