My style? Tribal chic. My secret? Great Moroccan jewelry. Lucky for me, Marrakesh is a virtual treasure trove of jewels. Strands of beads can be found everywhere in the souk, along with baskets of old coin charms and amulets. Also lining the souks are jewelry stores—the better ones showcase necklaces, bracelets and headpieces carefully pinned to the wall in glass cases. While most is of the new-ish genre, you can often find assemblage pieces made from old Berber components. Invest in silver pieces, as silver is believed to have protective powers and to ward off the evil eye (perhaps the most gorgeous life insurance policy of all time. If you want to learn how to tell what’s authentic, spend a charming morning or afternoon in the Berber Museum in the Majorelle Garden and get a crash course. Here are my five favorite shops for jewelry in Marrakesh.
The American jeweler who goes simply by the name, Jewels, has a tucked away atelier in an old Marrakesh riad. Jewels’ pieces integrate antique Moroccan elements, particularly amulets and talismans, as well as fossilized shell and bone. This is my favorite jeweler and the ultimate in tribal chic adornment.
This British-born jeweler has been designing jewelry for 20+ years, and works primarily in silver with semi-precious stones. She often draws on Moroccan symbols, as seen in modern rings derived from the hand of Fatima. She is also inspired by the North African Tuareg people, frequently featuring their nomadic patterns in her pieces.
Khalid Art Gallery
With a store in the medina as well as in the Mamounia Hotel, Khalid has Marrakesh’s largest collection of original, antique Moroccan jewelry. Many of his pieces are museum worthy. Go to admire, ask questions, and perhaps pick up a stunning piece or two. If you’re lucky, Khalid himself will be there.
Gallerie Al Yed
Moustapha el Yed’s father was one of Morocco’s original traders of coral, amber and silver. He has maintained his father’s traditions with integrity and reverence and is a true gentleman. With studies in American literature and philosophy, you’ll find that Moustapha speaks perfect English and has great knowledge of jewelry.
For a nice collection of less expensive but very pretty jewelry from contemporary designers, head to this concept store. You’ll find pieces laid out neatly in glass cases on the first floor, organized by designer. This is where I shop for my teenage daughter (and occasionally for myself).