Jewelry such as bracelets, anklets, rings, and necklaces can be put on clothes or the body to improve on one’s look or to beautify the clothes that one is putting on. Jewelry in Uganda is made from different materials but it also varies depending on the culture where the jewelry is made.
Ugandan jewelry is mostly hand made from beads, papers, wood, sea shells, stones, bones and seeds and by putting on these African jewelry, one is identifying themselves with a specific norm and culture.
Materials used in making jewelry in Uganda
There are different materials that can be used in making the jewelry in Uganda and these are listed below:
- African loose beads
- Mini and micro beads
- Specialized paper beads
- Gigantic and round beads
- Skinny, long and oval beads
- Regular paper beads
There is different jewelry made out of wood in Uganda and this includes wooden earrings, necklaces and others. Below are some of the steps involved in the making of wooden jewelry and they include the following:
- Get the materials which include cut wood, stretching strings and polish.
- The wood is carved according to the type of jewelry you want to make that is earrings bracelet and necklaces are all covered differently.
- After curving the jewelry, wood polish is added to add a shine and hanged for them to dry.
- After the drying of the wooden jewelry, they are placed on the strings to make the perfect jewelry. The wooden stone beads should be a little bit elastic so that they can be stretched easily when designing.
These are not specifically large horns but tiny formations of horns that are placed on strings mostly black in color and these are used in the different cultures all across the country.
These are normally picked from shores of lakes and stored in a protective place so that they do not get cracks. Although there are some artificial shells that are sold in the different shops and these come in different colors.
The shells are strung together on the string and joined to make the different jewelry designs by the jeweler.
Jewelry made from papers is unique in a way that the papers use to make them are supposed to be a bit hard like calendar papers and these papers need to be with attractive and bright colors so that they are catchy to the person who sees them.
Below is a step by step process on how paper jewelry is made:
- Buy strings from town. These strings vary according to the strength of the string and the type of jewelry you are making.
- Purchase the paper from town and sort it out according to color, size and shape.
- The paper is rolled and glue is placed at the end of the rolling to keep it together.
- A pin is rolled within the paper so that there is a spacing left for the thread to pass through.
- Sealant is applied on the bead to give them a shining glow and then later hang in the sun for it to dry. The sealant also helps to keep the paper beads water proof.
- After drying, the beads are then put on the different strings to make different designs of jewelry for sale.
There are different seeds that can be used in making jewelry in Uganda and these include castor oil seeds although you need to know that there are some seeds that are artificial in colors of red, blue, pink and other colors and these can be got in the different shops in Uganda.
Glass can also be used to make the different jewelry in Uganda and it does not need a lot of capital to buy the glass. You can get the glass from the different shops in Uganda mostly in and before you start making jewelry out of glass, you need to get a glass cutter to make the best shapes.
Glass jewelry can be accessorized with beads, cloths and other materials.
This is another form of material that is used to make jewelry. The pieces of cloth differ but the best are cotton kitengi which have different floral and attractive designs.
The cloths are bought and cut into different pieces depending on the type of jewelry that one is making and they are sown onto a metal, wood or any other material that can be used to make jewelry.
Cloths can make jewelry like earrings, bracelets, necklaces and bangles.
- Back cloth
Known as Olubugo in Luganda, it is used to make different jewelry in Uganda. This is also cut into different pieces and sown onto whatever material you are going to use to make the jewelry. This is used majorly by traditionalists although it can be used by other people to accessorize their wear.
Another material used in making jewelry in Uganda is plastic. This can be got in the different shops that sell plastics. These plastics can be decorated with beads or cloths in order to increase on their beauty.
Types of jewelry made in Uganda
There are several types of jewelry made in Uganda and these include the following:
These are stings or chains that are placed around the neck to accessorize a person’s dressing for the day. Uganda has very many necklaces being manufactured locally and these are made from hard paper from calendars, beads, horns, glass and cloths among others.
There are different components that make up a necklace and these include cords, a chain and band. Without these you cannot have a necklace.
Necklaces can be worn by both young and old women although they are mostly worn by the older generation. These can be bought from the African village in town, the different tourist destinations in Uganda and the jewelry shops found in the country.
An earring is jewelry that is worn by mostly women although there are a few men who now put them on and they are placed on the earlobe. There are various types of earrings and these include
- Huggy earrings
These are an earring that have a hinge at the top of the earring and allows it to be snapped open and closed and they have no back at the earring.
These are earrings that are placed on the ear lobe and they keep on moving as one walks. They are also known as chandelier earrings.
- Hoop earrings
These circular or semicircular in design and are made from metal. They resemble rings and have a string wire that is used to pass through the ear lobe.
- Barbell earrings
This is a two piece bead jewelry that is fixed on the ear lobe. It has a straight bar that passes through the ear and a fixed bead. The other bead is let loose and its fixed at the back of the ear.
This can either be worn on the ankle or the wrist although it is mostly worn on the wrist and by women. It is rigid in nature and can be made from plastic, wood or glass. There are majorly two types of bangles and these include:
- A split cylindrical
- A solid cylinder type
A bracelet is a type of jewelry that is worn around the wrist or arm and they are worn by women. Although differing from the bangles, these are not rigid and can be flexible and there are different types of bracelets and these are
- Charm bracelets
This is a bracelet that has more than one material on them and they are either trinkets or pendants that have different colors. These are normally put on by people who have a personal attachment to it.
- Beaded bracelets
These are made from loose beads and the beads are connected to each other by a sting through the holes that are on the beads.
- Sports bracelets
This is made from silicon rubber and it is mostly worn by sports men and women. They can be decorated or branded with different words depending on what he people want to be placed.
- Slap bracelets
These are metal strips and are flat which can be covered with cloths and beads in order to increase their beauty.
- Link bracelets
These are made from beads or gemstones and the material used does not necessarily have to be the same but they need to be similarly linked. They can be joined sing clasps.
Advantages of making jewelry in Uganda
It provides an income to the jeweler after sale which improves the standards of living in the country.
The jewelry business also acts as a side income for people since it can be done during one’s free time.
It is a source of employment to the different workers hired to make the jewelry and this has reduced unemployment tendencies in the country.
Prices vary according to the type of jewelry design and type that you want to purchase.