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Fashion/Culture: Afghan Traditional Clothing and Jewelry

 
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Afghan jewelry plays an important role in the way in which Afghan women accessorize their traditional clothing. Without the stunning chunky jewelry, the traditional dress (Gandi Afghani) would look bare and incomplete; like Romeo without Juliet.
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The Afghan jewelry is not just popular among Afghans for its beauty; it also has a captivating history that dates back thousands of years and shadows the ancient routes that interlaced throughout Afghanistan.
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Afghan traditional clothes and jewelry originated from the Kuchis in Afghanistan. Kochis or Kuchis (from the Persian word: کوچ koch; meaning “migration”) are Afghan Pashtun nomads, primarily from the Ghilji tribal confederacy.
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They migrated along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Pakistan they moved towards the Indus Valley, and in the West, they would move towards Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Some of the most distinguished Ghilji Kochi tribes include the Kharoti, Andar and Ahmadzai.
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 Authentic Tribal jewelry takes on not only a culturally idealized outward appearance, but also reflects a way of life that is steeped in socio-cultural tradition. In the 21st century, Afghan Kuchi jewelry is frequently referred to as nomadic jewelry.
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History reveals that the Afghans have faced many challenges in preserving their traditional clothing and jewelry. During the Soviet occupation period and the time of the Mujahedin and the Taliban, many personally owned pieces were sold.

Afghan Kuchi jewelry is distinguished on the basis of whether pieces are made of costly materials, imported, or made of beads. The more expensive pieces are generally created using precious and semiprecious stones worked into the metal and inlay settings by metal craftsmen in public workshops.

The more expensive the piece, the more likely it is derived from the Afghan environment. Such a piece will possess carved precious stones found in mountainous or riverine areas. This type of jewelry is generally worn for special occasions. The less costly ornaments, made from imported materials, are worn on an everyday basis.

The most distinguished Kuchi jewelry pieces are those that are worn by young women for special occasions such as Nikka (a Muslim wedding or engagement celebration).

The simpler jewelry worn by Afghan women on a daily basis are made from cotton-strung Mora (beads) and coins, as well as natural products such as cloves, nuts, and clay which are easily found locally in Afghanistan.

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