In Senegal, Female Empowerment, Prestige and Wealth Is Measured in Glittering Gold | At the Smithsonian

In Dakar, Senegal, a woman goes into a dark, small room called an m’bar, a goldsmith studio. The walls are covered with black dust, and she is there to commission an intricate piece of gold jewelry that will be part of her family’s wealth, as well as a symbol of her status, political power and prestige. She’s accompanied by a griot, who will sing songs praising the client’s family connections and her beauty to inspire the teugue, the goldsmith, to create an especially exquisite piece of jewelry. “Very often there was just one little bulb hanging in that room, and you would wonder how in the world they could do the very fine, delicate work that they did,” explains art historian Marian Ashby Johnson. “There was a small hole in what was sometimes a mostly dirt floor. That was where they had their furnace, where they melted the gold and made it into beautiful things.” Those things included complicated gold necklaces of flowers or butterflies, with almost impossibly tiny filigreed wires twisted into soaring tubular shapes, or twined into bracelets that seem almost too heavy to wear. There are rings with stylized domes that look as if they belong in a castle, and chokers that look lik...

20 Ways to Spoil Your Bestie on National Best Friend Day 2018

Why, you ask? Today just so happens to be National Best Friend Day and what kind of BFF would you be if you didn’t celebrate? You and your bestie probably already have plans to jet out of work ASAP and meet up at the closest happy hour (a plan we’re totally onboard with, btw). But, will you come bearing gifts? Remember back in the day when you we’re all about BFF necklaces?  Yeah, those still exist, along with tons of other cute matchy-matchy gifts for you to share with the light of your life.  We love these products, and we hope you do too. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not E!. We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy. This content is available customized for our international audience. Would you like to view this in our US edition? This content is available customized for our internatio...