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The Story of the Olkiripa Necklace  

In the Masaai culture, this wedding collar is made by the mother of the bride-to-be. It takes her a few weeks, each color carefully chosen based on its meaning. As livestock are such an integral part of their culture, much of the significance of the bead colors related back to cattle. Red signifies strength, unity and the blood of the cattle. Blue, the color of the sky that provides them with water for pasture. Green signifies health and the land that feeds the livestock. White is the color of milk - considered pure and holy. Orange and yellow signify hospitality, while black represents the people. 

On her wedding day, the Maasai girl is given the necklace, which symbolizes her new status in the community. The elaborate piece is also sometimes given as a gift to those highly respected by the village.