This antique coffee grinder is made of ebony wood, with hand-engraved silver melange adornment, hand-carved camel bone embellishments, and two coins. Entirely handmade, this grinder was used by southern Morocco nomads while traveling and crossing the Sahara desert. We sourced the item from Zagora, Morocco, where the item has been handed down through generations.
The coins are pounded and worn, but the lighter of the two is identifiable as a bronze mazunas, circa 1912-1921; while the orange coin, likely stained with henna, is a silver Moroccan franc from the rule of King Mohammed V. A chased stylized floral design with polished coral bead graces one side, Lapis Lazuli on an chased silver melange fibula brooch design opposite, while the other is decorated by a chased Berber fibula design and embedded stone of malachite.
Each side is framed in silver melange repousse, hand-hammered by a native craftsman. Repousse pieces are crudely adjoined with silver and affixed to the wood with small round-head metal nails. The top of the grinder has additional repousse silver melange, with braided and decorative circle embellishments. One side of the lid opens, and each corner has hand-carved bone cut in a triangle shape, mimicking the evil eye motif common throughout Moroccan folk art. The handle turns easily and has been decorated with braided, smooth, and flattened silver melange. The shaft of the crank shows visible rust.
The lower drawer is removable, and has two metal accents. The drawer pull is fashioned from a heavily pounded silver coin, functionally joined with a nubbed silver melange ring.
This objet d'art is entirely handmade by native Moroccan Berber artisans. It is early 20th century, passed down through generations of families.