Re-Appropriating Our History: “Flipping the Script”
Welcome to Black History Month at Inspired Luxe
As we celebrate the richness and diversity of cultural heritage emanating from the African Diaspora – from our ongoing contributions to science, medicine, politics, sports, music, food and fashion – we decided to shine the spotlight on members of the African Diaspora whose role in history, it seems based on recent articles, are not fully appreciated or understood: the Moors.
The jewelry they inspired, known as “blackamoors”, recently was in the spotlight when Princess Michael of Kent came under fire for wearing a blackamoor brooch to a holiday lunch at Buckingham Palace attended by Prince Harry’s fiancée, Meghan Markle. Media reports showing her wearing the brooch created a firestorm on social media and she later apologized. CNN’s headline read “UK royal apologizes for wearing ‘racist’ brooch to palace lunch with Markle.”
I think it’s time we reclaim and re-appropriate our history – starting with The Moors. The Moors were from North Africa and were great explorers, traders and conquerors. They established an Empire spanning parts of northern Africa to southern Europe. They ruled in Europe for nearly 800 years (711 – 1492). At one point, their empire included Carthage, parts of Spain and Sicily. In fact, the official flag of Sardinia is called the flag of the Four Moors, because of the four moors it bears.
The Moorish advances in mathematics, astronomy, art, education and agriculture led the way into bringing Europe into the Renaissance. In fact, they introduced their education system to Europe. It was the Moor Ziryab who pioneered the concept of changing clothes based on seasons and three-course meals. The Moorish cities they established had street lights, hospitals and running water.
While I could go on regarding their enormous contributions and conquests in Europe, what I really want to focus on is the jewelry inspired by the Moors, which is most identified with Venice. Venetian Blackamoor jewelry, which was being crafted as early as the 16th century, has become the symbol of Venetian goldsmith tradition and is now considered part of their culture and legacy. When I look at these exquisite pieces, I see kings, queens, princes and princesses – noblemen who were revered and admired, and feared. These bejeweled masterpieces are decked out in the finest gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds and more.
Some of the more recognized collectors of blackamoor jewelry include Sir Elton John, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace of Monaco. The pieces are collected by some as status symbols and others solely because of their beauty and exquisite craftsmanship.
When I wear pieces from my personal collection, I feel empowered and proud. Instead of racist remarks from people (at least to my face), they evoke admiration and curiosity. Every time I wear them, I view it as an opportunity to educate people about these amazing members of the African Diaspora.
In fact below, we are sharing a few of the pieces from one of the Venetian master jewelers whom I have met during my many trips to Venice. Due to the interest in buying that my own pieces have inspired we now have these lovely pieces and several more available for purchase at inspiredluxe.com.
Because each of these pieces is lovingly handcrafted – no two are exactly alike. We hope that you will take the opportunity to own one of these unique treasures. If you do, I am sure that you will derive as much pleasure as I do when I wear mine. If you are buying one for that special someone in your life, I can also share with you the joy I experienced when my husband gifted me with mine.
Now, and as always, we wish you joy and invite you to celebrate your cultural heritage not only during Black History Month, but every day of every month.
Lots of Love and Respect,
Denise and the Inspired Luxe Team