I have just returned from a month travelling around the Sultanate of Oman, a country of such wonderful people and full of historical and cultural interest… I enjoyed browsing in souqs and museums and realised that many of the old pieces of silver I have used in my designs are now considered rarities.
I was lucky enough to find more beautiful and rare pieces of jewellery. Prices have, not surprisingly, gone up enormously. Hopefully the Bedouin women selling their jewellery in exchange for gold are getting a fair price for it.
Many of the designs of Omani jewellery are of great antiquity involving ancient techniques used as early as the 3rd millennium BC chasing, engraving, filigree and granulation.
I am very excited with my purchases and I hope you will be too! Some may buy them as collectors items, antiques or want to wear them as unique and beautiful pieces of timeless jewellery.
Silver is also among the most visual and highly valued of Oman’s traditional crafts, dating back to at least the 1st millennium BC. Silver jewellery indicated status and tribal affiliation. As the favoured metal of the Prophet, silver carried a protection from evil.
Old Omani silver was created from melted down Marie Theresa dollars, also known as thalers from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The use of coins or ‘umla’ is widespread throughout the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. Issued by an official mint long before the introduction of silver hallmarks, coins were an indication of an established and guaranteed silver content so proved to be of major importance in the nomadic societies of the Middle East, as well as more widely in the world of trade.