The Embera people originate from the Darien region in Panama and the Choco region in Colombia. They have maintained their traditions over the centuries, one of which is their unique art of handcrafting necklaces called “Okama”, which means “the path that travels around the neck”.
These works of art are exclusively made and worn by women, and depending on the size of the necklace and the colour of the beads, each individual piece will tell a different story and the role that the woman wearing it has in the community.
Necklaces are weaved using various techniques such as wooden looms, hand-strung or threaded needle. It takes each artisan from 4 to 15 days to finish one highly elaborated piece. Combination of colours and shapes of Embera jewellery can tell you a lot about the perception of the world by Embera artisans. Here are some meaning:
WHITE : clouds, peace.
RED : blood, race, soul, flowers.
BLUE : sea, river, sky, space.
GREEN : nature, leaves, mountains.
YELLOW : gold, sun, happiness.
ORANGE : flowers.
PURPLE : flowers.
BROWN : earth.
BLACK : night.
By wearing the Embera necklaces that you have chosen, you directly help preserve their unique culture and showcase their distinctive art to the world.