We've broken down our belly dance accessories to allow you to better locate just the right item.
The decorative accessories of the Belly Dancer's outfit are varied. Just like the style of the Belly Dance, almost all the props are modern additions. Props include but are not limited to flowing veils, jewels, canes, swords, tassels, and Belly Dance bra covers. The development of the coin Belly Dance belts has been debated. There is very likely a historical seed to the coin Belly Dance belt. These coins may relate to the custom of Young Algeria girls who at the age of around 12 leave home their homes in Ouled Nail to raise money for their wedding dowries. They work as dancers and are paid in coins which they sew into their costumes. But the coins are not worn as a belt. Even today at some Eastern and Middle Eastern weddings the gifts to the bride take the form of gold - gold chains, coins, bracelets, etc. The bride accepts the gifts and wears them at the celebration. Again these gifts are individual pieces and not arranged in a belt. These gifts most likely evolved from a history of dowry and pride price; both of which were originally intended to ensure the prosperity of the new couple's family and therefore the prosperity of both families' progeny. While there is historic basis for women wearing their wealth, or the wealth of their families, some claim the draped coin belt that is worn today may have got its modern design from Bob Mackie, the famous costume designer for Hollywood.
All of these Belts, Bra Covers and Drapes are of the highest quality and solid brass. The belts weight up to 3 lbs. The belt sets come in three finish styles: brass, nickeled brass, or a mix of the two. They also come with different accents: mirrors, crystal, stones, or colored beads. Each style is available in three sizes. The bras and drapes are meant to be sewn to the dance costume and are one size fits all.
The large linked decorated medallions that rest on the hips make the belt. Hanging from theses linked medallions are chains that form three sets of swags; the largest swag hangs in the back and the two smaller in front. Hanging from these chain swags are the accent pieces; bells, small medallions with mirrors, coins or beads. There are two hanging medallions that should lie to the sides over the hips. By removing the back-middle waist medallion you can adjust the size of the belt down by two inches.
The easiest way to describe the belts is to explainthe codes. Each belt has a 3-letter/1-digit code. The first letter is always B and stands for Belt. The second letter identifies the finish style; B stands for Brass, N for Nickeled Brass, and X for mixed. The third letter designates the type of accent; C is for Coin, M for Mirrors, S for Stones, any other letter is for a colored bead. The numeric code designates the size, 2 is for 32”, 6 is for 36” and 0 is for 40 inches. The code for the Bra Covers all begin with C for Cover, the B or N for Brass or Nickeled Brass and then M, C, or B for Mirror, Coin or Beads. The last letter D indicates it can be used up to a D cup (or more). Each drape code has only three letters; D for Drape, B, N or X for Brass, Nickeled Brass or Mixed, and M, C, B for Mirror, Coin or Beads.
Usually all the care that is necessary is to rub the belts with a soft cloth dampened with warm soapy water. Periodically check the connections and the links. If they've loosened, use pliers to tighten the link so they stay secure. Belly dance belts can tarnish, so if you want the brass to shine more, you can soak the belt in mild vinegar. Do not let it soak too long or the ascent pieces may pop off. Never put the nickeled brass in vinegar. If the brass needs a stronger cleaning, use a wire brush dipped in vinegar. Then wash the brass soda water and rinse it in clean water. If an accent piece comes loose, glue it back with some type of super-glue or epoxy.