Women's jewellery, ornaments (podoaba) and accessories

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The jewellery  worn as part of Romanian traditional costume is less extensive and ornate that that worn further south in the Balkans. Jewellery used to form part of young girl's dowries and was worn for weddings. This often formed a "cunună " or crown made of beads and ornaments worn over braided hair, as in Oaş, or necklaces made of up to 20-30 concentric rows of beads.

Men's costume has less jewellery and ornaments than women's, although strings of beads, pheasant, ostrich or peacock feathers, and woollen tassels are used to decorate hats and fur caps.

Metal jewellery

Coins made into necklaces - Salbă

Necklaces made of gold, silver and copper coins have been worn with traditional dress for many generations. These necklaces can be short and worn on base of neck (Moldavia, Muntenia), or longer covering the chest (Transylvanian plain), or can consist of several strings of coins and cover chest to waist (Hunedoara, Năsăud, Banat). Ornaments followed fashion of time and were demonstrations for the wealth of the wearer, for example around 1900 in southern Romania heavy salbăs made of gold coins were often worn by wealthy peasant women.

Metal jewellery made by artisans

Jewellery is made of copper and brass using various techniques such as hammering, punching, casting, engraving, filigree working. This is found mainly in mining areas such as Pădureni,  Hunedoara, north & central Moldavia (Suceava, Iaşi), Bucium villages in the Apuseni Mountains (around gold mines), a few areas in central and north Transylvanian (also around gold mines) and in Târnave valley. These are all areas with Germanic influences.

Metal ornaments also reached Romania from south via Macedo-Romanian craftsmen from Balkans who worked in towns along the north of the Danube.

In Pădureni, Hunedoara, an old technique of casting molten brass or tin into clay or stone moulds is used to produce several types of ornaments. Women wear a narrow leather belt over a woollen bete from puberty to end of childbearing age. The leather belt is decorated with tin rivets, and has 5 or 6 little chains hanging down over right hip with around 30 rings and many ornamental keys attached to this. These are called the chei pe chici. Two types of brass rings are also made in Pădureni. These are both similar to medieval signet rings and likely to have been preserved in this region due to the many Romanian noble families who lived there.

Small polished beads made of imported coral set in brass or tin rings are also found in certain areas.

The style of modern ornaments made in co-ops in Bucharest, Braşov and Timişoara is based on folk ornaments, metallic girdles with keys from Pãdureni, coin necklaces and headwear of Banat, serpent like bracelets of the Dacians.

Beads - Mărgele

Strings of beads made of glass, coral, stone, amber, bone shells were worn with costumes in North and central Moldavia, Maramureş, Oaş, Crişana and North Transylvania and to some extent in other areas of the country. Glass or ceramic beads imitating Muranoware from Bohemia were introduced in 18th century from by Czech peddlers. These beads are made into either as Lătiţar or Zgardane.

Lătiţar is a small band of material, often velvet, or ribbon about an inch wide onto which small beads are sewn. They can be worn around neck, chest waist or head. In Maramures the background is black, in Oaş it is red. In the south these bands are worn over the marama.

Zgardane (necklaces) are made of several rows of small beads threaded onto strings usually worn round the neck, although they are also used to decorate mens' hats. These are made with straight edges in Maramureş and Oaş, and scalloped edges in Bucovina (where they are called ghiordan or gherdan), Hunedoara or Bihor.


Handkerchiefs- năframăs

In many parts of the country decorated handkerchiefs năframăs are part of festive costume. These are worn tucked into the belt on festival days. They are square with sides between 20-70cm and are embroidered with wool or with dyed cotton thread (arnici). 


© Eliznik2005, First issue 2002, Last updated Aug-05