How to Find Affordable Authentic Ethnic Jewelry

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

Keywords to Use When Shopping Online for Bohemian Jewelry

{Bohemian style guide}

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So you're shopping online for bohemian jewelry and you're just not finding what you had in mind. All the jewelry kind of looks the same... a little generic. I've been there before!

Knowing exactly what to type in the search bar when shopping online for bohemian jewelry can save you so much time and can help you build a stunning jewelry collection of gorgeous, high quality pieces from all over the world.


Here are a few search terms to use to find affordable and authentic ethnic pieces that bohemians love!




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"Bollywood"

This term will bring up the sparkling ornate jewelry worn by women in India while in formal dress. Of course, this isn't officially called "Bollywood jewelry". This style of jewelry is most commonly seen by us Westerners in Bollywood movies so the jewelry companies have made the search easier for us by calling it by what we know.

Bollywood style jewelry is usually heavy, of decent quality and often comes in a set of a necklace with matching earrings. You can also search for "Indian Bridal Jewelry" and get almost the same results but, Indian bridal jewelry sets oftentimes come with forehead jewelry known as a maang tikka.



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"Kuchi" or "Afghani"

(or Kochi) are Afghan Pashtun nomads and their jewelry is out of this world! It is heavy, sturdy and is often made from seed beads, bells, real coins, and embroidered fabric. Because Kuchi jewelry is favored by American Tribal Style® belly dancers, it is very easy to find online. Kuchi jewelry is often vintage but there has been a rise in a modern, more affordable style that is very easy to find by simply using the same keyword.

You'll be able to tell the difference as the vintage jewelry is oxidized, which makes the metal dull. The new Kuchi jewelry is very shiny and and often times features mirrors and gemstones. If your prefer the aged jewelry look, you can find antique Kutch jewelry here on eBay. Also, you might want to add "tribal" to the search term "Kuchi" or else you might end up browsing through a lot of Bob's Burgers merch.



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"Native American" or "Southwestern"

Using the term "Native American" will bring up both authentic and (more affordable) replicated jewelry. Often made of turquoise and other polished stones, silver and wood or bone beads, Native American and Southwestern themed jewelry is perfect for the bohemian who prefers a modern yet earthy look.

If you're looking for the authentic stuff, eBay is your best bet.



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"Turkmen"

Not for the faint-of-heart, this is jewelry made by the Turkic people located primarily in Central Asia, in the states of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Northern Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and North Caucasus. It is large, very ornate and often features enameled metal (typically in red, blue, and green). Turkmen jewelry is another favorite among American Tribal Style® belly dancers, so it is pretty easy to find online. It looks similar to Kuchi jewelry but often features flattened metal pieces.


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"Tibetan"

This one is new to me! I own Tibetan jewelry and even used to sell it and didn't even know it! I thought it was just generic "boho" jewelry.

The most common Tibetan jewelry is prayer beads or "malas" that come in the form of bracelets or necklaces. More intricate pieces are made from brass, turquoise, coral, and may or may not contain Buddhist symbols.


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"African"

Africa is huge so it's home to several tribes and regions who have their own unique styles of jewelry. In many parts of Africa, jewelry is made from wood, bone, animal horn, fabric, and recycled plastic and paper. Fortunately, much of the jewelry available to buy from Africa is fair trade, meaning the talented artisans that create these exquisite pieces are paid fair wages for their labor.


Which style of jewelry is your favorite? Let me know in a comment below!


Oh, and before you go! Please be sure to check out Ten Thousand Villages!

In their own words:

Ten Thousand Villages is more than a store. We're a global maker‑to‑market movement that breaks the cycle of generational poverty and ignites social change. We're a way for you to shop with intention for ethically-sourced wares — and to share in the joy of empowering makers in ten thousand villages.

As a pioneer of fair trade, we do business differently, putting people and planet first. That means you can trust that every handmade purchase and donation you make directly impact the life and community of its maker in a developing country.

#LiveLifeFair


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