Kuchi necklace with red and glass details
“Kuchi”, a Dari word meaning ‘those who go on migrations’, is the common generic term, used by both Afghans and foreigners, for the nomads of Afghanistan.
Over the centuries, and most recently in particular, these nomadic tribes have become more settled and don’t travel over the great distances that they did long ago. Wars, droughts, borders and poverty have forced them to stay within ever decreasing ranges. These days most of the people once thought of as ‘Kuchi’ are now settled in towns and villages where they can make a more substantive living. Jewelry making is now almost exclusively done for profit and trade with others outside their culture.
The jewelry of these wandering peoples incorporates design elements from many cultures including those of India, the Middle East, Central Asia and the tribal areas of the former Soviet Union. These jewelry artists used coins, bells, and large colorful glass jewels to produce lovely chokers, necklaces, cuff bracelets, pendants, belts, rings, earrings, headpieces and more completely by hand, often in centuries-old designs. These pieces sometimes incorporated beadwork or embroidery.