Lore Prompt 6: Jewelry
What sort of jewelry is common in your realm?
Have contact with other realms changed jewelry use in your realm?
Do you import or export finished pieces or raw materials?
What are some images of jewelry indicative of your realm's aesthetic?
The most common forms of jewelry in Martoise are necklaces, bracelets, and brooches. Even commoners have one or two pieces of jewelry for formal occasions (such as church), and nobles have expansive collections of ornate, custom-made pieces. The general aesthetic is complex metalwork around a large, centerpiece gem; the most popular gems are emeralds, which are often imported from foreign realms such as Calledonia. Gems are also imported from Sogadar, Koh (via Sogadar), Inoa Ranas, and Baungrvuor. While the Dántaine realms have their own distinct style of jewelry, the upper class has been increasingly diversifying their selections, purchasing from Sogadar especially. These pieces are marketed as exotic and rare, and the high-quality craftsmanship has only increased their popularity.
The wearing of jewelry is perhaps one of the surest and most obvious ways you an identify a Sogad. Even common nomads would wear a great many arm rings of wrought gold and belt-buckles and brooches made of extravagantly decorated precious metals.
This is not because these items are in any way cheap in Sogadar, as most gems and precious metals used to make them are imported from the gold-rich lands of Mehraq and beyond - but because the wearing of jewelry is a religious act, especially amongst the artistic patrons of the heart-conqueror, Zindagir. What better way to celebrate the beauty in life and the human mind than to make yourself wear beautiful things upon your clothes and skin made by the creativity of the mind.
Jewelry is also an important measure of someones wealth. Sogad would often break their arm rings or other jewelry in quarters or halves when trading with a merchant in place of currency, and the jewelry of a fallen warrior is often the first thing to be fought over amongst a battle even before the dead warriors armour and arms.
But if wearing jewelry is not enough of an indication that the person is a Sogad, then look closer at what they are wearing. The metal workers and jewellers of Sogad often follow a shared cultural motif indicative of Sogadar. Stylistic representations of animals curling and bending impossibly in awkward and dizzying angles and endless repeating geometric patterns, the Sogad disregard proper proportions and angles in their artistic work, preferring the unnatural and stylistic to the natural and realistic. This is due to their cultural perception that the nature of the gods are otherworldly and not fully conceivable to the human mind, and as the act of creation and beauty are intrinsically divine, Sogad art is often stylistic and otherworldly in order to capture a sense of that divine beauty of the three wise gods.
Examples of Sogad jewelry:
OnKitabie jewelry is made largely out of gold, bronze, and lapis lazuli. Lapis lazuli, or zilabie, serves as the currency of the various OnKitabie clans throughout Tiemakil Shike as well, as there are substantial mines for the mineral throughout the desert. Its deep blue luster and ability to be sculpted makes it more valuable than gold, a metal which the OnKitabie hold little economic value for anyways.
In general, due to the value of lapis lazuli, it is used as inlays on larger metal and fabric pieces of clothing. Most jewelry is embroidered or in some way integrated into larger articles of clothing as well, such as with lapis lazuli beads woven into the rim of turbans and robes. This is also the preferred method by lower classes and in urban areas, as it is harder to steal/pickpocket than a necklace or ring. However with the upper classes, necklaces and especially rings are prevalent, and it is considered to be a classical sign of great wealth to own two rings (one for each hand) carved purely from high-quality lapis lazuli. It should be noted as well that all genders tend to wear jewelry similarly. The only major distinction is that traditionally the nojal of the household who facilitate religious ceremony wear jewelry with turquoise highlights (assuming that the family has the finances to purchase the expensive gemstone) though that practice is slowly growing obsolete.
There are rarely distinct jewelers, as it is usually those who carve and refine lapis lazuli straight from the mines that also work it into jewelry. Occasionally this creates conflicts where the highest-purity lapis lazuli that is meant to go towards minting currency is instead used for carving rings and the like, since the carvers can get a far higher price for that. This has resulted in multiple laws being passed to prevent this by various different clans, and in the Miktaban many currency minters are pushing for permanently establishing separate jewelers to prevent future conflicts of interest.