This ear lace is inspired by the bekelew that T'boli women wear. Usually a single (sometimes more) strand of beads with a beaded fringe that hangs around the chin, from one ear lobe to the other. Many other cultures in Mindanao have a version of this piece of jewelry too. The Manobo and Bagobo people's version is called bali-og, while the Blaan call it ulel. In T'boli culture in particular, the bekelew symbolizes femininity.
In the Philippines, we have a very old and deep tradition in goldsmithing, existing for centuries, long before the arrival of Spanish colonizers. In fact, the Spanish were motivated to colonize the islands exactly because the locals were dripping in gold.
The people we collaborated with ensure these pieces of wearable art are 100% handmade by artisans who are paid fair wages in Ilocos. In the past, the artisans were losing thousands of pesos without knowing it, and so the folks we work with helped them with their financials, costs, and encouraged them to see the value of their work so this is now reflected in the pricing. The artisans spend decades or even their entire lives just learning how to do it (from their elders), starting at a very young age.
Very few artisans today know how to make this form of jewelry for many reasons, thus this craft is considered a dying art.
Made by: Jong
How long it takes to make: 2 days
Due to its handcrafted nature, no two pieces will be exactly the same and there may be slight variations from photos.
- Length of chain with teardrop charms: 12"
- Length of plain chain: 14 1/2 "
- Made of 925 pure silver coated in 24-karat gold
- Free of lead and nickel
- Suitable for sensitive skin
Price is in USD, which includes standard shipping within Canada and the US. This item ships out of Toronto. Additional shipping rates are available; expedited shipping and insurance coverage have an added fee. You will be able to choose your preferred shipping option at check out. Read our full shipping details here.
Returns and Exchanges:
All sales are FINAL. Please refer to our return/exchange policy details here.
Photo credit: Ti'boli woman from zeal4adventure.com.