Even before the arrival of the Europeans to America, the Embera indigenous people inhabited the Pacific coast of Colombia, an area characterized by its dense tropical rainforest. Today, its members live in different regions located in the West of this country, as well as in certain parts of Panama and Ecuador. Among the Embera communities, the Embera Chami, the Embera Katío and the Eperara siapidara indigenous groups can be identified.

An important aspect of the life of the Embera people is the relationship of its members with the jai spirits and their conception that the universe is composed by three worlds, each of which has several levels. Their main economic activities have been gathering, hunting and fishing, but today, agriculture is their main source of sustenance. Currently, the sale of necklaces, bracelets, breastplates, belts, earrings, and even bags made with beads, is an additional economic resource for the community.

In the process of interacting with their environment and with other human groups, clothing, facial and body paint and different types of accessories, are extremely important for the Embera, as they are signals of belonging to the indigenous group, as well as an aesthetic imprint of their culture. Ornaments such as necklaces, are created by women, although some men also make them. Traditionally, these were made using monkey teeth, bones and seeds, but most of these materials have been supplanted by beads made out of plastic or fiberglass. One of the most important pieces is the "Okama" ("path through the neck" in their language), necklace that gives distinction to the woman who wears it, telling her story and role in the community. Girls wear it small, while women use large necklaces, depending on what they have experienced. "Okamas" are a means of adorning and glorifying the symbolic weight that women carry on their shoulders.

Each handcrafted piece can take from hours to a month to be completed.

Add To Cart