In the Marrakech souks, I was drawn to these chunky beaded and silver necklaces — you can see big displays of these everywhere in the souks:
Yeah, I know it’s hard to focus here, there’s so much to see. It got overwhelming because everywhere you turned, there were scenes like this. I was able to focus and find a few things to buy in this shop, which was my first experience with negotiating in the Marrakech souks. Even though I probably still paid way too much, this man was nice and made the experience fun! It was like bargaining anywhere else, especially in Thailand where they make it a fun game.
But I didn’t buy any necklaces. Why? I know I wouldn’t ever wear them. Often we see things on vacation that are great in that vacation setting, but when we get back home to our regular lives, these things just don’t fit. The colors don’t go in our house, the style doesn’t go with our everyday work clothes, etc. It’s like getting back to the reality of our lives, versus what we’d like our lives to be when we’re on vacation. Maybe I’d like to be a bohemian babe who wears piles of these necklaces with caftans and I drift barefoot along long sunlit hallways all day, caftan fabric flowing and chunky beads clanking.
That is a magazine shoot. Or an Instagram shoot, more likely nowadays! It is not me or my real life. More likely I’m in a beige office in a basic all-black outfit, responding to email, or reading and highlighting a scientific paper and writing lots of notes in the margins, before I run to the next meeting of the day.
So. Felt like a fantasy just came crashing down there.
So I did not buy chunky beaded necklaces in the Marrakesh souks. But one night there, while at Le Tanjia restaurant, I spotted something. Something on the wall:
My apologies the photo is so bad, but Le Tanjia is lit entirely with pierced metal lanterns so the atmosphere is dark and shadowy, and I may have had several strong mojitos before snapping this!
But you get the idea. Necklaces can be works of art. So why not treat them like works of art? Why not frame them and hang them? You can use shadowboxes for thick beaded necklaces like this. Here’s a few more framed necklaces I found online — this framed look is especially good with tribal necklaces with big style and personalities. These are from Neiman Marcus (left) and Amalthee Creations (right):
Choose simple frames and matting to let the necklace be the visual focus.
You can drape necklaces on a vintage dress form. Put a plain dress or tunic on the dress form so the spotlight is on the necklace. This necklace was sold by Etsy shop MorningDoveDesign:
It appears these necklaces have sold, but this Etsy shop has many other beaded necklaces.
You could go crazy-nutso and pile a whole bunch of necklaces on a small vintage-style dress form that’s sized to display necklaces on a dresser or tabletop:
You could also pile beaded necklaces in bowls. Here’s a pile of old beaded necklaces I spotted in a bowl at the Antique and Garden Fair at Chicago Botanical Gardens:
For a neutral look, here are strung African beads piled in a rustic industrial bowl that I saw at Randolph Street Market in Chicago years ago:
If these were turquoise, amber or carnelian color beads, the color pop could be really interesting.
If you come back from a vacation with jewelry that you feel doesn’t fit into your regular everyday life, try framing it or piling it in a bowl. Or display it some other way. This way, whenever you look at the jewelry, you can get the vacation fantasy and feeling back in your life, if even for a moment!
I seem to make a Pinterest Board for everything, and I made a board to collect ideas for displaying necklaces. Check it out for more ideas: