• Turkmen People are predominantly Sunni Muslim, but retain many of their pre-Islamic customs and beliefs. Like most of the region's nomads, traditional Turkmen People adhere to Islam rather loosely and combine Islam with pre-Islamic Animist Spirituality. Turkmen silver jewelry displays deep symbolic meanings, and often marked the passage from one stage of life to another. From a very early age, Turkmen women start wearing jewelry whose shapes and materials were believed to protect and ensure her ability to bear healthy children. The amount of jewelry young women wore increased as they approached marriageable age. Fine silver jewelry was believed to ward off evil and illness, as well as serve as Dowry or BrideWealth.
  • Significant in size and weight, traditional Turkmen jewelry objects were made of fine silver, decorated with semi-precious stones, and sometimes gilded with near pure gold for an added color effect and increased value.
  • Traditional shapes found on Turkmen jewelry include abstract mountains, animals, horns, and plants. The mountain motif is part of the Turkmen creation story and is significant for its ancestral and heavenly connection. The mountain ram is a sacred animal to the Turkmen and its horns are frequently used in rituals and are often seen in abstraction in traditional Turkmen jewelry forms.
  • The double leaf and two-leafed flower motifs are connected to the growth of humanity, and are part of a venerated decorative tradition.
  • In addition to the protective benefits of the fine silver metal itself, the semi-precious stones that embellish the jewelry are also imbued with protective powers. Cabochons of Carnelian, a rich red colored Agate stone, are popular because they are believed to protect the wearers from illness and death. Carnelian is also believed to promote strong, healthy blood and ease in childbirth. Turquoise is less commonly used among the Turkmen, but serves as a symbol of purity and chastity. In some cases, less expensive glass beads of the same colors are used instead of semi-precious stones.