Chunky Tribal Jewelry for Your Aunt Who Thinks Africa Is a Country

It can be hard to find Christmas gifts for the more eccentric members of your family. Especially your Aunt Suze. You know, the one that loves “ethnic prints” but has never been outside of Delaware? If you’re searching for that special something to give your well-meaning aunt whose most precious worldly possessions come from Home Goods, look no further than this chunky tribal-inspired jewelry that will remind her of humankind’s shared homeland, Africa, which she thinks is a country.


Heavy Beaded Necklaces

A long strand of marble-sized, multi-colored beads is the perfect accessory for a woman who’s favorite outfit is a Dashiki-inspired dress and a wooden necklace from Chicos. Her favorite album is “Graceland” because of the South African drumming, and while she knows who Nelson Mandela is, some part of her truly believes that South Africa is the South part of the country of Africa. Are you complicit in this casual appropriation if you buy her one of these necklaces? Maybe! But what else are you going to get her? A candle??


Wooden Bracelets

Wooden cuff bracelets are the ultimate accessory for a woman whose favorite part of the week is watching “This Is Us” because it reminds her that people of all colors can get along as long as they are all good at heart, which everyone is. “Isn’t it sad that other nations have such conflict? There are people starving in Africa. The president of Africa should do something,” auntie Susan will say, her eyes brimming with tears, as she slowly raises a wood-cuffed fist in solidarity. You should probably tell her to stop. But also give her a wooden bracelet to let her know her heart is generally in the right place.



Rings are blessedly subtle and so ubiquitous that a person can’t really be accused of appropriating a ring style from another culture, though Suze will try her damndest. She’d love one with a vaguely tribal-looking geometric pattern that she can refer to as “Navajo” one day and “Mayan” the next, totally unaware that these are separate cultures. Ugh, you know what? Maybe just go with something super simple. Like…a candle!




Ah, the creme de la creme of tribal jewelry: big, colorful earrings that will pop against Aunt Suze’s various beige shawls and catch her hair as she explains how much her heart hurts when she reads the news about what’s happening to “all those poor people, the Africans.” She doesn’t know what’s happening, just that it’s bad, and that it’s affecting the whole “country of Africa.” So you could get her earrings or you could get her a candle. She likes candles.


Aunt Suze has a warm, open heart, a patient spirit and a forgiving soul, and she should be rewarded for those qualities with accessories that appeal to her “Earth mother” and “village elder” identities, no matter how misinformed they may be. But also you should inform her. Because really, it’s on us to educate the women in our lives that just really want some chunky-ass tribal jewelry. Or just get them candles. Ugh, Suze.