The Greats Behind our T'Boli Jewelry
THE GREATS BEHIND OUR T'BOLI JEWELRY
We love telling the stories of our makers—not only because it helps to honor and preserve filipino culture and history, but because it helps bring the humanity back to the items we own.
It’s a beautiful cycle:
Traditional Crafts > Storytelling > Popular Culture > Conscious Consumption > Sustainable Livelihoods > Traditional Crafts
The T’boli community is an indigenous community from the mountain province of South Cotobato who make our gorgeous sebu ring, wavy ring, and wavy bracelet.
There are over 40 ethnic groups in the Philippines, and the T’boli community is one of the largest in the country. They’re a colorful group that is distinguished by their vibrant traditional attire, masterly brass adornments, and intricate music.
Largely untouched by the Western world, the T’Boli people for centuries have lived off of the land and remained deeply connected to and inspired by nature.
The community subsists nearly entirely on hunting, fishing, and cultivation. Their handbuilt homes are made of bamboo, raw abaca (banana fiber) and rattan. They live simple, yet culturally rich lives that are centered around their spiritual connection with nature and their folk literature beliefs.
The epic Tudbolol is the core of T’boli folk literature, and in many ways is the foundation of their identity. Tudbulol is the T’boli community’s principal means of preserving and transmitting customary law. All 8 epics are normally sung in its entirety only during the Moninum, a grand ceremonial complex which is only completed every seven years. The entire song can take up to 16 hours to sing.
Though the T’boli are widely known for their idyllic music and Dream Weaver textiles (whose patterns come to them in their dreams and are passed down generations), they’re also distinguished by their metal crafts. T’boli tradition links this craft to Glinton, the god of metalwork, who occupies a stellar space on the T’boli folklore pantheon.
To this day, T’boli community makers use an indigenous loss wax casting technique to create stunning, intricate metals.
Our MAAARI sebu ring, wavy ring, and wavy bracelet are made of recycled church bells, broken and melted down from buildings that date all the way back the Spanish occupation of the Philippines.
T’Boli artisans start with beeswax and form it into their desired design.
Clay is formed around the beeswax to create a mold, then dried in the sun.
Recycled church bells are melted down over an open flame and poured into the mold.
Once dried, the clay mold is cracked open to reveal the brass jewelry inside.
The casted products are shipped to our jewelry studio in Los Angeles where they are buffed and finished.
Though the T’boli people largely subsist off the land, outside partnerships like ours help to preserve this craft, and diversifies job opportunities and sources of income; creating a sustainable cycle that brings makers and consumers closer together.
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