Neema is a Swahili name meaning “born at a prosperous time.” It metaphorically describes this exotic African sea urchin spine bead necklace from which a magnificent calabash pendant is born.
The calabash shaped pendant is intricately inlaid with brass and aluminium wire in a wonderful ornate design. It displays the craftsmanship of artisans from the Dinka tribe, South Sudan, using methods that are passed down from generation to generation; it is one of many examples of the remarkably beautiful adornment that originates from this region.
Although the calabash or bottle gourd is a type of vegetable, it is commonly used by various cultures around the world for non-culinary use. Hollowed-out and dried calabashes are a very typical utensil in households across West Africa and are also used in Ethiopia and Sudan as vessels to carry water and food. Calabashes are used to make musical instruments such as the kora (a harp-lute) and the goje (a traditional fiddle) in West Africa. Erbore tribe children in Ethiopia wear hats made from the calabash to protect them from the sun. The shape of the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, which hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup, also takes inspiration from the calabash.
Sea urchin spines, an exotic gift from nature, give this necklace a dramatic flair as they spread out like a beautiful fanned collar on the neck. These sea creatures use their spines to defend themselves from predators. The colour of the beads is reminiscent of the early dawn sky, with intense hues of purple, orange, pink and streaks of white. These are separated by brass spacers from India.
This striking statement necklace is finished off with a handcrafted brass clasp, chain and SHIKHAZURI logo bead.