The girls receive the first necklaces from their father when they are very young; they are usually red in colour, this means that the father has promised to marry the daughter to an already identified man.
But despite a girl is already committed to marriage, the Samburu teenagers enjoy a fairly broad level of sexual freedom and girls can have more Moran boyfriends.
The Samburu young warriors also give necklaces as a gift to show their love to a girl or the one with whom they have a steady relationship, this girl in the Samburu language is called nekarai, i.e. not married girl; the necklaces are expensive for their standard of living, i.e. up to 100 US dollars for a single piece.
The Samburu women spend much of their time making jewellery, necklaces, anklets and bracelets with coloured beads; in the past they used coloured seeds, pieces of old tires, copper, brass and iron wire instead of beads.
The colours have a specific meaning, white stands for purity and health because it is associated to cow’s milk; black means discomfort; yellow and orange are the colours of hospitality, while red means danger, courage and unity.
Life, tradition and culture of Samburu people
- Samburu social organisation and villages
- Samburu religion
- Samburu rituals and ceremonies
- Livestock farming and diet in Samburu communities
- Samburu jewellery and clothing