Standing at the streetside stall in Hampi, a magical land of acid green grasses, thick groves of gangly palms and mountains of enormous stacked boulders in south India’s Karnataka region, I was trying to figure out how best I could do this. How, with my limited amount of luggage space, could I manage to take this entire Lambadi tribeswoman look home with me?
It had to happen. I’d been admiring these women, part of the nomadic Lambadi tribe that originated in Rajasthan and who are referred to as the “gypsies of India,” ever since I arrived. Silver hangs from their necks, their noses, even their hair, and they wear thick white bangles or bandiya on their arms. Add to that their mirrored and embroidered short-sleeved kanchalli tops (they were originally forest dwellers and it’s said that the mirrors were used on the ladies’ clothes for protection), patchwork skirts and Tukri veils, and you have a visual explosion of colour and expression that’s very easy to fall in love with.
I take the stunning orange and silver beaded necklace… and a patchwork skirt and mirrored bag to match. The usual buyer’s remorse is set aside as I rest easy in the knowledge that the Lambadi women I’ve purchased from – mostly poor and uneducated and struggling due to the rampant urbanization taking place in Hampi – will have something to live on for the next little while now that I’ve purchased their treasures. Now you can do the same, and look tribal-fabulous while you’re at it.
Condition: Metal is dinted in places, all part of the necklace’s age and charm
Material: Metal and resin beads
Size: 54cm in circumference
** Pieces featured in Nina’s Bazaar are vintage, pre-loved or handmade one-offs so there may be imperfections which add to the character of each piece.