A few months ago, I spent the day with my local jeweler. He has made a few rings for me and I’ve always been impressed with the quality, given what most would call a very crude setup. The silver he uses usually comes from either recycled jewelry or old french francs. The gold comes from local gold mines, and the other metals are usually found scrap. The jeweler learned his craft from his father. His family has traditionally worked as metal forgers, making not only jewelry but tools and weapons.
Interestingly enough, this jeweler is not originally from my village but from northern Burkina Faso. He moved to the region when following his older brother, who began to cattle ranch in the area surrounding my village. After several years of helping his brother he moved west to Mali to further study jewelry making. My jeweler then returned my village and to his traditional craft, set up shop, and began making jewelry.