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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Maasai Bride Inkarewa Wedding Collar

Bead working has a rich history among the Maasai women. Maasai brides wear an elaborate beaded wedding collar or inkarewa on her wedding day.

African jewelry is created from a wide variety of materials. Generally, African jewelry is made from materials that are immediately available to the artist in their community. White beads created from clay, shells, ivory, or bone. Black and blue beads fashioned from iron, charcoal, seeds, clay, or animal horns. Red beads came from seeds, woods, gourds, bone, ivory, copper, or brass.

Maasai Women photo by neate photosThe style of African jewelry is as wide and varied as the continent of Africa. African jewelry is created for more than personal adornment by the wearer; it also designates rank, class, affluence, rites of passage and tribal association. Certain kinds of jewelry are worn only by men or by women.

Bead working has a rich history among the Maasai women. The Maasai communicate their identity and position in Maasai society through body decorations and body painting. Maasai women wear elaborate ensembles of beaded clothing and adornment, including necklaces and ear ornaments. Marriage in traditional Maasai tribes is an arranged event.  The elders arrange marriages and brides are married off for a dowry of cattle which is the measure of wealthy in Maasai society.


The bride wears her marriage collar or “inkarewa“on her wedding day. The Maasai inkarewa is created with a sense of honor and fine artistry since the bridal collar is thought to be a reflection on the bride. Similarly, in the United States a brides wedding dress sets the tone for the entire wedding party.

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