The necklace or pendant – also referred to as taneghelt in Tamasheq, the language spoken by the Tuareg – is made from three crosses attached to black cotton strings. The three silver pendants were made by the lost-wax technique, and the Tamacheq word taneghelt means "pendant", or more specifically "cast object".
There are five main "original" types of these "croix", or ‘crosses’:
1. Zinder - conical shaped base (see 2007.169)
2. Agadez - "cross" with 3 arms/square with concave sides and knobbed edges
3. Tahoua – as Agadez though with 2 triangular and two small round holes in the middle of the "cross"
4. Iférouane – “cross” in two parts, the top part has an empty circle
5. In Gall – although this is ranked among the cross pendants, it is not made by the lost-wax technique.
These five types have variants (about 25), which can be bought in a special collector’s box. From time to time, new crosses are invented, such as the croix de Mano Dayak, one of the celebrated Tuareg rebel leaders who died in a plane crash in 1995. Probably the naming of crosses after geographical regions began during the colonial period. The pendants of this necklace are two croix d'Agadez (left and right) and one croix de Tahoua (centre).
The necklace was collected by Ursel Widemann who was carrying out fieldwork in Agadez (Niger) for her doctoral thesis on Tuareg clothing and identity. From December 2005 until January 2006, Widemann collected artefacts for the Horniman in Agadez, as the museum's agent. These artefacts formed the focus of the Horniman exhibition 'Tuareg: people of the veil' (March 2010-February 2011), for which she was project curator.