I went to Morocco for my honeymoon in 2015 with my husband, Marlon, and our lives were forever changed for the better. We both truly loved the country—the landscapes, the people, the food, the adventure, the romance... I could go on and on. (If you, too, get the chance to visit this wonderful place, please make a beeline.) Below are some of my favorite things about Morocco, where life is good and the jewelry out-of-this-world cool.
The Jewelry Lover’s Guide To Morocco With Lulu Frost’s Lisa Salzer-Wiles
From Marrakech to Chefchaouen, we followed the jewelry designer on her hunt for inspiration
Photo by Lisa Salzer
We began our journey in Marrakech, a magical city of veiled orange groves and courtyards filled with the scent of coffee and dates. The jewelry shopping was divine. I went a bit crazy at the many side alley shops chock-full of antique Berber and Tuareg jeweled treasures. One great shop was El Abidi Nasser Eddine, where I picked up a crystal domed ring from around the 1920s and Marlon bought a sterling and agate ring that he has worn every day since.
The truth is, there are so many places to go to find something beautiful. So I recommend you go... everywhere—the smaller the side street, the better the shops. Keep your eyes peeled for that fabulous vintage amber strung on brightly colored wool cording, that Morocco is so famous for, to show you where the shop entrances are.
One great area, in particular, is the surrounding side streets around the Jemaa el-Fna Plaza; there is a great market there with many vendors called Ets Bouchaib Complexe D’Artisanat. Highly recommended!
Next stop, Essaouira, a stunning little surf town on the Atlantic Ocean. Marlon and I loved the mix of sun and sea, the amazingly quirky, cute little restaurants, and the fabulous rug shopping around every corner. In addition to that, I found some of the best cheap and chic jewelry here, with a heavily beaded influence, lots of shells, coral, and turquoise. Walk along the old Portuguese fortress walls to find the best jewelry shops. We stayed at the fabulous Riad Baladin, which is close to the bordering plaster city walls painted in what I would now call “millennial pink.” Nearby this delightful hotel, are several jewelry shops, including the awesome market Ensemble Artisinal, just off the Bab Marrakech entrance near the main medina.
Next stop was the Atlas Mountains, and then into the Sahara Desert. We were lucky to have the most awesome 4x4 driver-tour guide, Youssef, who took us around the mountains for three days. Youssef brought us to some amazing roadside jewelry shacks, where I purchased some faux-Berber pieces. Though made only recently for the tourist trade, they still feature some very cool handwork.
Then, we found the mother of all secret spots outside the town of Ouarzazate, an unsuspecting and insane antique jewelry store, Labyrinthe Du Sud, specializing in many types of jewelry from the Tuareg people, a semi-nomadic tribe native to Morocco and other parts of North Africa. Each tribe has complex symbols that they employ in their handmade silver pendants and talismans, so, of course, my dorky jewelry-self was immediately hooked. I went a little crazy in the store and purchased one of the amazing, antique, graduated amber and sterling silver bead necklaces, which now hangs above my bed as a piece of art.
After leaving the desert, we went to our favorite town yet, the amazing city of Chefchaouen, which means “blue pearl.” The name couldn’t be closer to the truth—every street and home are painted a stunningly cool shade of blue. We love Chefchaouen for so many reasons, and the jewelry shopping certainly did not disappoint. I fell in love with a little place called Chez Abdul that has a great assortment of antique Berber and Touareg pieces.
Try to get to Morocco at some point in your life—the people, the aesthetic, the culture, and the vibe are all so special. I can’t wait to go back for all of that—and more jewelry.