Fair Trade Décor hosts ‘Jeweler of the Sahara’ on July 31


Tuareg artisan and community leader Elhadji Mohamed Kaumama and his son Ismael of Niger will visit Del Mar on July 31 as part of a national tour.

The event will be held from 2-8 p.m. at Fair Trade Décor in the heart of the village, featuring a demonstration and sale of handcrafted silver Tuareg jewelry.

The Kaumama Family Collective has been making jewelry in the Agadez, Niger, area for 25 generations. They are known for their high quality jewelry — using 99.99 percent pure fine silver, ebony and semiprecious stones. Each piece is hand-hammered using simple tools and beautifully engraved with the symbolism and motifs of generations. The Tuareg believe that jewelers have special powers because of their handling of fire in the making of the jewelry.

The traditionally nomadic Tuareg, native to the Sahara desert, are often called “the Blue People of the desert” because of the indigo dye on their garments that stains their skin. Elhadji, the family patriarch, was born and lived as a nomad until he was 10. He was the first in his family to attend school. As an adult, he first visited the United States with almost nothing in his possession but the jewelry of the Tuareg people, which he sold at street events in northern California. This year, he is representing 50 artisans from Niger at festivals, museums and events in nine U.S. cities, including the Santa Fe Folk Art Festival.

The Tuareg trunk show concludes with a performance of African drumming and dancing by the WorldBeat Centre of San Diego from 7 to 8 p.m, also at Fair Trade Décor in Del Mar, 1412 Camino Del Mar. For directions or information about the Tuareg jewelry event, call 858-461-1263.