As the cradle of humankind and home to one of the world’s first civilizations, Africa has developed and fostered crafts, techniques, and inspirations that can be seen as some of the foundations of global luxury. For thousands of years, Africans have gathered precious stones and metals to create original objects of adornment: thick strings of beads made from precious metals, coral, amber, or glass, precious jewels such as turquoise, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds, carefully formed into jewellery or ceremonial objects; earthen clay, masterfully moulded into the forms of deities. Making use of the richness and diversity of the resources found on the continent, craftsmanship became highly sophisticated in the mighty African empires as artisans perfected numerous complex techniques under the tutelage of royal courts. In some societies, the fineries they were commissioned to create were of such importance that the craftsmen lived with their rulers; the artefacts they meticulously created were significant not only in their artistry, but as expressions of history and visual keepers of legends, to honour both kings and gods.
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