About my ‘Rhythm of Ethiopia’ Collection



It all started when I wound up at the village of the Arbore tribe.

People of the Arbore tribe live in the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia, and like all the other tribes of the region, cannot be pictured without vivid, massive jewellery. I met an amazing girl from this tribe, who fascinated me not only with her beauty and charm, but also with the dozens of beads wrapped around her neck. Soon it became apparent that I’m not leaving the village without some of these beads. I looked at her neck and the bright blue- and red-beaded necklaces, and imagined how it would fit with my white shirt, and how well it would look at the Tel Aviv seafront.

So with some sadness, the girl sold me her beaded collar; but for the money I paid her she was probably able to buy a dozen of such necklaces. And I, having happily put the beads in my pocket, went on with my journey.

On the last day of my visit to Ethiopia, I was sitting on the floor in the area’s only decent hotel and packing my bag, sifting through my collection of treasures from Omo Valley. My blue and red Arbore beads were a beacon among my other finds. Large, uneven beads were strung on cords made of goat skins, and the cords were imbued with aged goat fat, ocher, clay, and God knows what else. When after half an hour, I (a doctor’s daughter!) could not come up with how to wash and sterilise them, it became clear that this beauty I cannot bring to Israel, and even more so, cannot put around my neck. Holding back tears, I had to leave the beaded collar of the girl from the tribe of Arbore behind, but what I got from this was the idea of ​​a much higher value.

These beads, their colours and shapes, did not leave my mind. I thought about them all the time. I also thought about other Ethiopian tribes, with their unique characteristic ornaments, as well as the colours, sizes, and shapes of the beads. Over time, hundreds of pictures of men and women of Ethiopian tribes of the North and the South of the country accumulated in my photo archive, and the differences in their style of jewellery became more evident. The rhythmic, rich, dark, and highly contrasting patterns of small beads are typical for the northern Afar tribe, for example. For the southern Hamer tribe — the bright combinations of simple elements made with large beads.

All of these considerations, as well as the longing for the beaded collar of the Arbore girl, eventually crystallised into the idea of ​​a jewelry collection inspired by Ethiopia. Into them I brought, of course, some modern elements that allow these things to blend naturally in the “big city.” Their rhythm, however, and their Ethiopian roots are fully preserved. I also ensured the best quality of the materials, importing the finest beads from Japan and Kenya.

I am starting to add the things that I make to the Jewellery category of this site, shop.inthetravellab.com and I hope you will like them.

I also want to extend my gratitude to the girl of one of the most remote tribes on the planet Earth, as well as Birehanu, my Ethiopian friend and partner; the assistance and participation of these people in this project is priceless.


Einat Klein