The Kalinga Dinayaw necklaces and the straps for the Kalinga Bracelet Beading Kits are made by working students in Kalinga. We have specifically selected these products to give them an incentive for learning the heritage crafts of weaving and beading, while supporting their studies in other disciplines.
In addition, the products become tools for them, as well as the buyers, to learn & preserve the meaning & history behind the weaves and beads in these modern times.
For example, the black beads are upcycled plastic replicas (an innovation of the Kalinga from available plastic utensils) of the precious "adjongan" from Kalinga heritage beads. We have recently found out that it serves the same purpose as the Greek "evil eye" glass bead, which is to ward off envy and jealousy. For the adjongan, it is best to design it facing away from the wearer, like in these necklaces, so that no envy or jealousy is directed toward the wearer. Even more important, is to wear it as a reminder to keep envious and jealous thoughts away from one's own mind.
In bracelets, the adjongan is directed inward toward a central crystal/agate/porcelain bead, which is sometimes representative of healing or prosperity. Interpretations for such beads have been inherited from peaceful trade relations with China (possibly since the Ming Dynasty) where the green beads were once jade (for prosperity & abundance) and the red beads (called "arrubo" for health & healing) were once a red crystal believed to protect the wearer, relieve anxiety and stimulate the life force.
Through these products, we hope to reinforce the idea that it is possible to balance the preservation of heritage arts & crafts with other aspirations. They are not mutually exclusive. Some indigenous youth study to someday be police officers, designers, IT professionals, but it doesn't mean that they cannot continue to identify with and preserve their heritage. For some, heritage arts & crafts is a primary source of income, but within an increasingly global society, it doesn't have to be a choice of either-or. There are opportunities to pursue global careers while preserving heritage. In fact, we believe taking your identity with you and contributing to the conversation of global diversity and sustainable design is essential. Philippine indigenous roots have much to contribute to this knowledge pool.
Learn more about the Kalinga Upcycled Plastic Beads at one of our Kalinga Beading workshops.