A glossary of ethnic jewellery terms

Kitab / Tuareg

Kitab is the Arabic word for Book. It also describes a particular type of hollow pendant which contains religious or protective writings. the example shown is of Bella origin ( Sahara)  Continue Reading

Filed Under: K, T

Karen Hill Tribes

Thai and Burmese hill tribes can be traced back to the 12th century, originating from Tibet. The Karen tribe is the largest of around twenty hill tribes whose total population today numbers more than seven million across The Union of Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand. In Thailand, around 400,000 Karen live at between 800m and 1800m up in the mountainous and densely forested…Continue Reading


Kochis or Kuchis (from the Persian word: کوچ koch; meaning “migration”) are Afghan Pashtun nomads, primarily from the Ghilzai tribal confederacy. Some of the most notable Ghilzai Kochi tribes include the Kharoti, Andar and Ahmadzai. Sometimes Durrani tribes can be found among the Kochi, and occasionally there may also be some Baloch people among them…Continue Reading


Jewelry from Great Kabylia, Algeria, has a very distinctive style. Intricate patterns are combined with colourful enameled  ornaments and coral beads. The bright blue, yellow and green applied in small compartments makes this jewelry appear rich and decorative.Continue Reading

Khal Khal

A Tuareg anklet which is worn to protect the feet from snakes. With fine designs and large finials these imposing jewels are made in silver and aluminium.  Continue Reading


Karat (abbreviated Kt) is a measure of the fineness of gold. 24 karat gold is pure gold. 18 karat gold is 18/24 gold (about 75% gold – three quarters gold). 14 karat gold is 14/24 gold (about 58% gold – a little over half gold). 12 karat gold is exactly half gold. 10 karat gold…Continue Reading

Khamsa / Hamesh

The hamsa hand (Arabic) or hamesh hand (Hebrew) is an old and still popular apotropaic amulet for magical protection from the envious or evil eye. The words hamsa and hamesh mean “five” and refer to the digits on the hand.Continue Reading

Filed Under: H, K


The Karakalpaks (“Kara” meaning black, and “Kalpak” meaning hat) live primarily in northwestern Uzbekistan with smaller populations in Turkey, Iran and other central Asian countries. The Karakalpaks emerged as a confederation of tribes at some time in the 15th or 16th centuries.Continue Reading