Take a close look at Sardinian jewellery through the ages and it will tell you a story that dates back almost 4000 years. Besides the breathtaking natural beauty that makes it well known over the world, Sardinia is a land rich in history, mythology and legendary folk tales. Its numerous mythic folklore tells of an ancient world filled with fantasy, magic, and the spirit of all living things. Remnants of this fabled mystique can be found in present day Sardinian life; a life original, spontaneous and closely tied to its most ancient traditions.
Sardinian jewellery is closely linked to the traditional beliefs of the land. Archaeological evidence of a prehistoric human settlement in Sardinia can be evidenced from remains of ornaments and jewels from the Stone Age are testimonials of the rich history of Sardinian jewellery.
Over the centuries Sardinian jewellery has undergone many changes as external influence transformed the materials and techniques used to produce jewellery. The jewellery itself is remained fascinating because of its construction and design. However, as cultural influences started to change, so did its appearance, significance and design.
The materials used for Sardinian jewellery have changed during the years. To the oldest remains of jewellery made up almost entirely of stones, vast mixes of metals have been added to their composition. From bronze to copper, from natural stones to coral and many more.
The materials chosen by KOKKU are mainly yellow gold 18K and silver 925/1000 with natural stones. This is in line with the traditional type of Sardinian jewellery that we intend to preserve.
Sardinian jewellery is made up of the following articles -
In the past, only married or engaged women were permitted to wear rings, as a symbol of fidelity or marriage vows. One particularly distinctive ring is the "Maninfide"- the engagement ring engraved with two linked hands symbolizing the unifying pact made in love and marriage. Traditionally the fiancé gifted this ring to his future bride, in exchange for which he would receive a finely carved knife with a horn or bone handle with ornate engravings and brass embossments.
The “Maninfide” has been replaced in the years by the most traditional and possibly the most beautiful of the rings in the KOKKU collection: the “Fede Sarda”.
The ring with its decorative ears of corn represents a wish of success and prosperity for the new couple. Traditionally exchanged between the couple on the wedding day as nuptial commitment. Nowadays it is used more frequently as an engagement ring or more simply as a solitary decorative accessory.
The design of earrings has changed dramatically over generations, however they keep their humble origins as earrings were the most commonly used article among the lower classes. The Sardinian earring was conventionally made up of a drop-shaped piece of coral enclosed in a gold ring to which a hook is attached for attachment to the ear-lobe.
The earrings worn as part of the feast-day costumes were particularly decorative and elaborate. Typical examples are the bow-shaped earrings (with inlaid precious stones) and the spatula earring (generally butterfly-shaped and made from gold leaf).
Yet another traditional style is the earring comprised of gold seeds pierced and joined together to resemble a blackberry. This particular model is the most precious and valuable of all the earrings created in Sardinia as is the most difficult to style.
Our collections such as “Corbula”: representing the handcrafted baskets used for the harvesting season and the “Fede Sarda” with the ears of corns to wish wealth and prosperity are examples of the designs that prolonged the popularity of Sardinian jewellery in its traditional form.
The use of gold or silver and the intricacy of its decoration make the necklace by far the most important ornament of Sardinian costume.
Two particularly characteristic types of necklace present in traditional Sardinian costume are the "su Giunchigliu" (a long gold chain with circular links which is wrapped around the neck several times) and the "su Ghettau" (where the links are transformed into large spherical shapes adorned with grains and filigree.)
Customary Sardinian culture used necklaces to identify women from different classes of the society. Nowadays their primary purpose is in enriching the feminine figure and enhancing a women’s beauty.
In our opinion, the most desirable of all our pieces: the “Necklace Koro”, made in silver or yellow, white, pink and red gold combines the magnificent detail of the traditional necklaces with the innovative design work of today to achieve the effect of desirability and allure that was part of its original intention.
Given their elaborate designs and value of the necklaces, only the highest society would have traditionally been able to afford them. For this reason many women from the lower classes would have worn a pendant instead. Typically, created from gold leaf which is cut, pierced and adorned with precious gems (cameos, rubies, etc) and is hung around the neck on a dark velvet ribbon.
It is from these origins and the flexible use of this article that we now find a huge variety of designs for pendants. Designs like “Petali” and “Nuvola” are just an example of how the use of traditional techniques has been adopted to obtain original, modern and stylish designs.
This article even though present in the modern Sardinian jewellery has a different history compared to the other articles. Despite its ancient origins, historically there was a long period that saw bracelets disappear from Sardinian costume entirely. This is mainly due to the fact that the Sardinian dress was relatively conservative in exposing parts of a woman’s body. In particular, finely decorated, colorful long sleeves would have made bracelets not only redundant but also uncomfortable.
New fashion trends however have made it possible to enjoy our delightful Charm bracelets or our unique bracelet designs.
Bracelet design dates back to the Phoenician invasion in V and IV century BC. A replica of the Phoenician designs is represented by the undoubtedly beautiful “Bracelet Fenicio” which is a symbol of delicacy and strength.
Brooches are present in almost all the traditional female costumes on the island. The styles and forms of these articles varied from village to village. The brooch worn on the breast was the most elaborate, the most prominent of them being the sunflower-shaped brooches with a ruby or a cameo set in the centre.
AMULETS and TALISMANS
These singular articles constitute an integral part of the traditional costume and owe their presence to the folk legends which attempted to provide an explanation for the evil forces of nature.
Amulets were used to ensure good health and were considered to be infallible against the evil eye. These were often pinned to either a baby’s clothing or cot as a means of protection. Talismans, used right up to the middle of this century are still reproduced today in view of their considerable beauty but no longer possess their original significance.