Agate from Senegal

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Location: Soumbedioune Market, Dakar, Senegal; Material: Agate & Silver

Soumbedioune Market is an amazing artisan market in Senegal’s major city of Dakar.  I lived in Dakar from September 2015 until December 2015 and ventured to this wonderful place a few times with my friend Katelyn, who was in Senegal with me.  On our last visit to the market before leaving Senegal, I was on a mission to purchase a ring, and where else better than Dakar’s premier art market?!  It is very unusual to me to not seek out a ring right away when I travel (I usually buy multiple when I travel because rings are probably my favorite type of jewelry), so I scrambled to find one last locally-made “souvenir” in Dakar.  I am specifically very interested in silver rings (see all my other blog posts haha), but I knew I was going to have a hard time finding one at this particular market because I hadn’t really seen any silver jewelry the prior time we had visited.  So, I enlisted in someone’s help.

On our prior visit to the market, Katelyn had purchased a piece of Senegalese art from someone who made all the art he sold himself (and also whose name I’m afraid escapes me).  He spoke English pretty well, so between his English and my French, our communication was very solid!  He told Katelyn to come back for a gift he planned to give her for purchasing her first painting.  We immediately went back to this man’s casual hut-like “studio/show room” and he gave Katelyn the gift (a small painting), I purchased a painting (and therefore received a small painting as a gift as well), Katelyn purchased an additional painting, and I asked him for some help finding two things: a silver ring and some Senegalese music (which was surprisingly very difficult to find).  For the ring, he us took a to a spot in the market we hadn’t seen before.  It was a little alcove with glass jewelry cases, tucked away near one of the market exits.  I immediately saw the above ring, but realized it was part of a set.  I am not particularly into jewelry sets (too matchy-matchy for my taste), so I asked if I could just buy the ring and bargained accordingly.  He wanted 12,000 cfa ($24) for it, but I managed to get it down to 7,000 cfa ($15).  I’d say a great deal.  It is also the first red stone I have ever purchased!

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