Moussa Albaka is a Tuareg tribesman from Niger, in West Africa. For many generations, his family, of the Inadan class, has been involved in silversmithing, as well as camel caravan trading throughout the Sahara. He and the men in his family are highly skilled producers of Tuareg jewelry. Albaka creations include necklaces and amulets, bracelets, earrings, buckles, daggers, and locks, all handmade of 95% silver. The lost wax process is used, and the techniques of decoration are engraving, repoussé, and inlay with semi-precious stones, other metals, and ebony. Many of the designs are traditional, but Moussa has long been creating more modern pieces in his own unique style.
Tuareg jewelry is highly valued among the peoples of Africa. Europeans also have developed an appreciation for Tuareg aesthetics. Moussa has collaborated with several well-known designers and has won the UNESCO award for artistic excellence with his work. Since 2000, he has attended fairs and shows all over the U.S. and at present, makes his home in Tucson. In a book about Tuareg society by Dominique Casajus, his family, was featured in the text with photographs. At the Center for Scientific Research in Paris, he assisted a poet in translating a book of French poetry into Tamasheq (the language of the Tuareg and Berbers).
Houa Albaka, Moussa’s sister, and the other women in his family, make traditional leather camel bags (which we also carry here at MoMo), pouches, purses, belts, boxes, and pillow covers. They are decorated with designs in brightly colored leather which is etched, woven, embroidered, and fringed. Like the silver jewelry, this work is unique to the Tuareg.
Moussa Albaka has a large extended family in Niger, including fourteen children (his own and those of his late brother), for which he is financially responsible. Because Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, where there is a severe shortage of food and few ways to make a living, Moussa’s ability to sell his work—and that of his family—abroad is essential to their lives.
He has won the UNESCO award for artistic excellence with his work.
Mouses Albaka - Engraved Silver and Onyx Hoops
These hops are engraved and set with two black onyx cabochons made by Tuareg artist Moussa Albaka.
They are 2” long and 1 1/2 “ wide at their widest. Light weight and easy to wear.
Moussa Albaka - Silver Earrings
XL Engraved and stamped silver with a glorious center pyramid. Weight is light for size. 2 1/2 inch wide 4” long. Handmade and each pair is one of a kind. Moussa is a Tuareg jeweler; currently in Tuscon, AZ.
Moussa Albaka - Engraved Silver Earrings
Engraved, stamped, repousse, and hinged silver earrings. Handmade by Tuareg artist Moussa Albaka . 3 1/2 “ long and 1 1/2 “ at their widest. These are not heavy.