Do you have a Kirdan in your costume wardrobe?

Egyptian Kirdan,
a dance tradition

In our world of belly dance, we call necklaces like the one to the right many different things.

They might be called a “Dowery Necklace” as they are associated with weddings and are worn during the zeffeh, a traditional wedding processional. Photo Courtesy of

You might also find them described as “Egyptian Crescent Moon Necklaces. ” The moon is symbolic of the cyclical nature of womanhood. During the 20th century, dance performers wore these to performances associated with weddings.

Belly dancers have long used their terminology to describe the style and use of these traditional costume pieces. However, Egyptian jewelry makers and dealers call this necklace style a “Kirdan.”

A Kirdan-style necklace is a larger, multi-layered piece worn from the neck down the chest.  The kirdan might be mounted on a choker at the neck, or worn on a chain lower down the chest. Although this style is quite large and dramatic, kirdans are traditionally crafted from small dainty components.  These pieces include shaped fillets, bells, coins, and charms.

In this film clip featuring the song Yamma El Amar Al Bab, notice the lovely kirdan worn by the singer.  (And all that assiut?  You know, I had to sneak it in!)

The crescent moon kirdan has been popular in Upper Egypt since the first quarter of the 20th century.  The style that belly dancers today wear, harkens back to older, more traditional styles of necklaces that appear in classic Egyptian musicals starting in the 1930s.

Check out this classic clip starring legendary Egyptian dancer Nabaweya Mustapha wearing a crescent moon kirdan.

So next time someone asks you for more information about your jewelry, you can tell a more complete story of your necklace.

“My Kirdan is from Egypt. As you can see, it’s an ornate tiered necklace, composed of symbolic moon imagery. This necklace style is traditionally worn for wedding performances.  This could include henna-night informal dancing, the formal zeffah or wedding processional, or at the banquet for a cane dance or with a shamadan, an ornate candelabra.”

Are you looking for a traditional Egyptian wedding kirdan?

When shopping, always ask your favorite belly dance dealer.  I use for specialty belly dance gear.  You can also try on websites like Etsy and eBay.  Just be sure to search using many different terms.  You never know what words the seller is calling it.

Happy Dance, Music, and Costuming,
Dawn Devine
Mar, 2024

By Davina

Davina ~ Dawn Devine is a belly dance costume designer, dance instructor and author of more than a dozen publications on Middle Eastern dance.