From wondering to solid insight

Vintage silver jewellery: everything you always wanted to know about its history, cultural context and meaning!

This is the first and only e-course of its kind, entirely devoted to traditional jewellery from the Middle East and North Africa. In this 4-part lecture series, you will gain solid insight in the bigger picture behind adornment. Enjoy the colourful world of jewellery in easy to follow, short episodes: whenever and wherever you want!

This investment in yourself is less than the cost of a bracelet – but your entire collection will gain a world of meaning. Scroll down to see what awaits you!

Looking beyond Jewellery

Looking beyond Jewellery is my introductory course into traditional jewellery of North Africa and Southwest Asia. In 4 classes, we will travel beyond the jewellery itself, to the world of its wearers. Jewellery is not just adornment: it is a historic source that gets you up, close and personal with the women who wore the pieces which are now in your care. Jewellery will tell you about their life, their most profound hopes and fears, and their fierce resistance and resilience. A journey filled

with jewellery from museums and collections around the world, this is a unique course that hundreds of people have enjoyed: museum staff and academic faculty, professional dancers, expats and collectors alike. This course has been specifically created for you: this is the ‘who, what & why’ of your jewellery you’ve been looking for!

This course is absolutely essential for any person who is interested in jewellery or studying it, as it covers topics that are often forgotten in the usual curriculum. Sigrid shares a lot of information and the presentation is amazing and perfectly organized. It is easy to follow, as you can do it at your own pace and there is a big plus with the great reading material and book recommendations she offers.

Elena Almirall Arnal, PhD

Todo Es Arte Formacion, Spain

Your course is a wonderful complete package — your lovely speaking voice, the content and how topics tie together, the amazing slide deck, and on and on.  I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. You really have a wonderful delivery style and I think your speaking voice and pace appeals to a broad range of English speakers and English abilities.

Noel Adorno

Vonda's Treasures, U.S.A.

I finally got around to the first of your classes and I must say I’m so impressed. Mind you, I did not expect anything but sterling quality from you but this is so exquisite! I really look forward to plunging into this fantastic world of jewellery, especially when it comes in such an enticing package as this, yet with scientific preciseness. And so much material! We are truly spoiled…

Tina Lundberg


Being human

History of Jewellery

In this class, we will trace how jewellery came to look as it does today. Where do designs come from? How did Chinese influences end up in the Mediterranean? This is a journey through time, spanning 5,000 years and three continents. You will gain an understanding and appreciation of the huge timedepth reflected in jewellery, hear more about the many peoples and cultures in the region, see how techniques and decoration schemes spread, and above all, enjoy many pieces of fabulous jewellery along the way!

The 8 episodes in this class: Beads and bead research | Ancient Egypt | The Persian-Graeco-Roman world | Middle Ages in the East | Middle Ages in the West | The Ottoman world | The 19th and 20th century | Jewellery as a historic source

Fighting the evil eye

Magic of Jewellery

A class devoted to amulets, talismans and magic! Jewellery often doubles as protection. Materials, patterns and shapes are chosen for a reason. We will see magical books and grimoires, study the meaning of numbers and colours, and learn how magical knowledge is passed on. You will see jewellery with a variety of magical capacities, learn to recognize many basic elements of protection, and see what these hopes and fears encapsulated in jewellery tell us about the lives of the women who wore these pieces.

The 8 episodes in this class: What is magic? | Colours | Eyes and Hands – the oldest forms of magic | The magic of the skies | Material magic | Spells and magical writing | The magic of numbers | Jewellery as protection

empowering women

Independent Women

Before banks and plastic money, jewellery was a woman’s main financial asset. She was the CFO of her household and ran informal networks that functioned as microfinancing initiative. In this class, we will explore the world of the dowry and of social status. You will learn how savvy women invest and save, hear about the intricacies of marriage negotiations, get an understanding of the use of coins in jewellery and get an idea of the astounding length and width of collective mental bookkeeping.

The 8 episodes in this class: Independent Women | Coins | Hallmarks and makers’ stamps | Keeping up appearances | The world of the dowry | The shadow economy | Jewellery and the life cycle | Jewellery as historic economic source

Frankincense, myrrh & silver

Scent of a Woman

Personal adornment is closely related to the senses. In this class, we will explore the invisible world of fragrance: when you have visited North Africa or Southwest Asia, you will undoubtedly remember how the many scents made your nose tingle! Jewellery is specifically created to hold perfume, or is made of aromatic substances itself. Dress and body aesthetic also employ scent. This is not simply a form of beautification, but carried deep meaning. Fragrance kept evil at a distance, attracted blessings and was of great importance for the intimacies of married life. Enjoy this sensory journey into the smell of frankincense, spices and flowers, and discover the social and spiritual values of fragrance in everyday life.

The 8 episodes in this class: The world of scent | Fragrance and spirituality | Communicating with fragrance | Births, wedding and death rituals | Perfume jewellery | Body aesthetic | Hair and clothing | A vanishing capacity

Just a short note to congratulate you again for your great contribution by putting together the course on Silver. The first class was fantastic, with a wealth of information all put together very nicely… easy to follow and  learn from. Being an Amazigh man, the Magic-class reminds me of several occasions where the subjects of this class were actually witnessed or even experienced.

Mustafa Salem


In my work as a museum researcher, I have been studying Middle Eastern and North African jewelry for the past four years, consuming as many resources as I could find. Sigrid’s online jewelry classes have been an excellent addition to my education on this subject matter. The presentations are easily understood, visually engaging, and I learn something new with each episode, even about topics I am already familiar with. I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to understand more about the cultural context of adornment in these areas of the world, including those with no prior knowledge.

Emily Bryant

Ethnographic Collections Manager, Indiana University Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology

This course by Sigrid is a beautifully presented online course, offering well researched, informative insights into the history of beads and the cultures that use beads as adornment.
As a dancer and performer its important to know the origin and geographical journey of my jewellery, to understand and consider how a piece has been made.
For me old pieces of jewellery retain a spirit, of the women and the magic of times past.
Jewellery is a celebration of adornment, beauty as art, and Sigrid’s course brings all these wonderful elements together.

Nina Martinez

Dance Director & Master Teacher, Temple Rain Dance & Adornment

Course schedule

Good news: there is no fixed schedule, as the course is pre-recorded. So it’s available right now: in 10 minutes, you could be watching the first episode!

The course is brought to you in bite-sized episodes of roughly 15 minutes, totaling around 8 hours of material. All videos are online, so you’re welcome to watch at your own convenience. You will have access for a year, so there is plenty of  time to watch and rewatch the episodes.

It will not take up too much of your time at once, either. All you need is 15 minutes and an Internet connection: participants have enjoyed the course while commuting, or as a well deserved tea break.

This course is not another item on your to do-list. This course is the break you’ve been wanting!

‘I would love to take a class, but I’m so busy…’ Sound familiar? Our days fill up quickly, and time simply gets away from us. So we are quick to skip those things we actually enjoy the most: a moment to relax, to explore, to enjoy our favourite topic. I have designed this course with you in mind: treat yourself to a daily 15-20 minute jewellery break!

Learning more about jewellery never was so easy!

about me

Your instructor

All classes are researched, prepared and taught by Sigrid van Roode. I have been presenting classes, courses, workshops and jewellery talks for the better part of two decades now, and am the author of two books on jewellery from North Africa and the Middle East. My goal is to present academic level research in an accessible, fun and easy to follow style. I believe jewellery is not just adornment, but an important historic source that tells us so much about the lives of women – and I’ll be showing you in how many ways that works!

looking beyond jewellery


E-book package

With this course, you will receive 32 full-colour e-books. These contain not only the course material, but also present you with book recommendations, online reading material and additional images. The e-books are yours to download and keep: your own jewellery library and starting point for more exploring!

Online community

You will have access to our private online community on Facebook. Here, you will be able to get any questions answered and enjoy the world of jewellery with other course participants from around the globe – with as many angles, comparisons and personal stories to share!

This course is definitely for you when:

  • you are interested in jewellery and dress from North Africa and Southwest Asia, and in the history, traditions, and many cultures of the region;
  • you work with dress and adornment from the region as curator, designer, dancer, instructor or collector;
  • you inherited jewellery and would like to learn more about its background;
  • you have lived or are living in the region as an expat and would like to understand more about its history and culture;
  • you already know quite a good deal about your jewellery, but could use an overview of how it fits in the bigger picture of cultural customs, traditions and society;
  • you are curious to look beyond your own culture or country;
  • you care about jewellery and cherish jewellery items as the heritage pieces they are.