Friday, September 24, 2010


I love jewelry. I really do. Ever since I was a child, I'd whine and whine and whine until Mom (or Dad) would buy me a certain ring or a brooch. I was in love with Amethyst and purple stones mostly because of the short-lived action comic.

Ironically, I never thought that my fingers could be decorated with rings. I could never wear brooches to school (not to an all-male Catholic school!). And so, many pieces were lost, long long time ago. Although, I've retained two pieces: Two Amethyst-tinted glass brooches from Smithsonian (it was the age of paper catalogue. Yes, I am ancient).

From July 25th, 2010, I've decided that I would wear black nail polish and my fingernails and black eyeliner & eyeshadow whenever I go out (except to dance classes). My boyfriend supports this look, although Mom said by wearing make-up everyday, it would make my stage make-up look not special.

This new look, combined with the heavy influences I get from FCBD-ATS and Tribal Fusion in general and Gothic Fusion in particular (although I think I'm more drawn onto ATS), allows me to wear my costume jewelry (rings, some of my bracelets and cuffs) whenever I go out lately.

In FCBD's 20 years of performance DVD that I got last year, in the commentary by Carolena Nericcio, she mentioned the pair of monstrous spike cuffs that she'd found and wore to all kinds of performances. At that time, I didn't feel moved by the spike cuff. I was satisfied with my collection of mostly ethnic / silver-colored cuffs and bangles. I wear these to performances everytime I do Tribal Fusion pieces.

About two months ago, I didn't exactly know why, but I was browsing TribalLine again after a long while since Lilith and decided I was rich enough (yay!) to purchase more cuffs. And I fell in love with a gorgeous spiked cuff. I e-mailed Merilyn, the owner of TribalLine, and she replied saying that it was already out of stock. I was... I had mixed feelings about this, just as I usually have when I failed making a purchase or a concert of someone I truly anticipate is cancelled. I got disappointed, but I was happy that I could still save the money for something else.

But something kept telling me that I needed spike cuffs! I just gotta gotta get, at least one cuff!

And so I did. I did my research and finally decided to order from The price they offered for a spike cuff was USD 20 LESS than other stores. And that was significant. Besides, the shipping fee cost almost next to nothing, and so I ordered one.

Waiting was of course the hardest part, but I finally got it. Because I was worried that the Eid would mean no one and nothing worked in Jakarta, I had it sent to Bali to my boyfriend's house. I became quite a nuissance because I kept pestering him, asking if it had arrived or not. It took forever to arrive and it finally got there just the day before he left for Jakarta.

My Collection of Tribal Bellydance Jewelry
My very modest collection of Tribal Jewelry. I think I missed a ring here.

While I was looking for the right bracelet and the right price, I stumbled upon several sites that talked about the history of spike bracelets. Mine (in the picture, it's the one with green stones, interlaced with the white big shell armlet) is Pakistani (or so I found out) and is made out of metal, most probably gillit (brass, nickel, mixed with old coins). The inside is hollow, so although it looks big, it is actually not that heavy.

I found something that made me struck out, "Of course!" and duly commented on how stupid I was (as usual). Spike bracelets were first worn by ethnic tribes (Berber, Kuchi, Pakistani, Rajasthani, Afghani, even Indonesian tribes such as the Batak in North Sumatra) for self-defence purposes. Women wore these to protect themselves. That also explains the spike rings or any kinds of heavy rings, with or without stone. Now that would pack a mean punch! Ouch.

But another thing is... When laid flat, a spike bracelet or cuff will resemble the sun (the spikes being the sun rays). How cool is that?

Some tribes, such as the Ouled Nail tribe, sew coins on their clothings. This is not only to display their wealth, but to make it easier for trade purposes (imagine going through all of those coins in your purse). Same thing with jewelry: they're not just intended for decorational purposes, but also practical. And in the case of heavy, solid, or spiked cuffs: self defence.

You just gotta love history.

For further reading, please click here, here, here, here, here, and here.
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