With its long sea border between eastern and western civilizations, Yemen has long existed at a crossroads of cultures. It is strategically located in terms of trade on the west of the Arabian Peninsula. Since 1990 it has been officially known as the Republic of Yemen.
Geographically, the country can be divided into four main regions: the coastal plains in the west, the western highlands, the eastern highlands and desert in the east.
The precious legacy of silver jewelry reflects the ethnic regional diversity of the country. The jewelry in the North was mainly influenced by the Middle East, with styles brought by Turkish occupation in the late 19th century. The southern part, where an estimated 100,000 people of Indian origin live, was influenced by techniques from India.
Yemeni ethnic groups were predominantly Arab, followed by Afro-Arabs, South Asians and a largely tribal society, eg in the northern, mountainous parts of the country where there are already 400 Zaidi tribes. The mid 20th century saw the departure of most resident minority groups (Indonesians, Malaysians, Jews etc.
In addition to local Muslim craftsmen, Jewish silversmiths with their specific jewelry style worked in different locations throughout the country. Craft techniques were mainly loop-in-loop, granulation and filigree which began to appear in late 19th century.
The jeweler would use the mix and amount of silver that fitted the needs of his customer. Bedouin and tribal women in remote areas often brought pieces of low silver content, a reflection of what they could afford. Nomadic jewelry was essentially richer and more differentiated, capable of being transmuted into readily available capital, a reflection of the high risk of their economy.
Ornaments on sale date back to at least the early 20th century showing a high level of granulation and filigree techniques.
Influences of the Middle East and India manifest themselves in Rashaida jewelry.They are closely related to the Saudi Arabian Bedouin who migrated to Sudan from the Arabian Peninsula 150 years ago. Many Rashaidas also live in the neighboring countries of Eritrea.Rashaida keep their traditional dress, culture, customs, camel breeding and practice of Sunni Islam. They are primarily nomadic and live in isolated communities. Besides herding the veiled women also craft jewelry. The men are excellent traders using their camels and nowadays also driving their pickup trucks.
Identical silver jewelry work is found not only in various parts of Yemen but also in Nubia/Ethiopia (as will be indicated in description). Sometimes it is impossible to distinguish Rashaida bracelets from Arabian peninsula counterparts. As Rashaida ornaments also circulate in Egypt, more bracelets can be found under the Egypt heading.
ORNAMENTS ON SALE : to view more pictures of the ornaments click my E-bay shop
An exceptional pair of delicate mixed silverwork techniques. Provenance Yemen, Saana. Seals/hallmarks of the silversmith are carefully melted near the screw hinges. Bracelets are two hinged with a removable pin.Silver at least 800/1000 acid tested Ornaments are not polished to preserve patina ∅ inner 4.5cm ∅ outer 7cm H 2cm W 144g Similar sample p 210- 175 A World of Bracelets Price €450ANTIQUE ETHNIC SILVER BRACELET PAIR YEMEN BADIHI BEDOUIN
From Shabwa a double walled rare and interesting solid pair with 3 cupro nickel* ‘girsh’ coins immitating old middle east currency .This type also circulates in Saudi Arabia / amongst the Rashaida according to the Ethnic Jewels forum. These unusual bracelets have nice patina traces and are slightly adjustable to wrist. silver base < 720-1000. (* 3x copper price) ∅ inner 6cm ∅ outer 10cm H5cm W 217g Price €140
This Bawsani bracelet from Khawlan with its 12 silver protruding filigree domes was mainly worn by Jewish women. It has very fine silver gauge wire, delicate filigree and granulation work. The screw hinge is covered with a delicate flower motive. Bracelets are two hinged with a removable pin. Silver at least 800/1000 acid tested Ornament is not polished to preserve patina.∅ 5cm H 3.5cm W106g . Similar sample page 42 Silver Treasures, p139 A World of Bracelets Price €200
This typical Badihi – style ornament was made with delicate granulation. The bracelet from North Yemen/ Sa’dah is made of two pieces hinged together and a smooth butt on the removable peg . Bracelet is two hinged with a removable pin.Bracelet is two hinged with a removable pin.The silversmith has left his marks at the inside of this ornament – Maria Theresia coin (MTT 833.3) silver 800 acid tested. Bracelet was not polished to preserve the patina. ∅ inner 5cm ∅ outer 7cm H3.5cm W107g. Similar sample p.56 Silver Treasures p139 A World of Bracelets Price €120
Bracelet NorthYemen/Saada + Nubia/Rashaida. This hinged ornament is double walled and shows various silver decoration techniques : the granulation work is quite delicate. At the inside the silversmith left his marks. Bracelet is two hinged with a removable pin.Maria Theresia coin silver (MTT 833.3) 800 acid tested The ornament was not polished to preserve the patina∅ inner 4.8cm ∅ outer 6.5cm H2.5cm W63g. Similar sample p.56 Silver Treasures and p139 A World of Bracelets Price €100
Pair of bracelets Yemen ,Saada + India A smooth antique silver pair with an Indian type of flower motive on the screw hinges indicates that the ornaments most probably originate from India. The bracelets have nice soft patina and were not polished to preserve the patina. Silver 900/1000 acid tested ∅ inner 5cm ∅ outer 7.5cm H 1.8cm W76g Similar sample plate 33, 81-82 Indian Jewellery Price €350
Bracelet upper arm Rashaida / Ethiopia + Yemen (Taiz) + India,Gujarat where the Ahir women have similar ornaments. Note the fine conical studs and applied wirework on this hollow maádhid which has a high silver grade Silver 900/1000 acid tested . ∅ inner 8cm ∅ outer 14cm H 3cm W180g .Similar ornament Page141 A World of Bracelets and p. 121&143 Silver Treasures Price €200
Rashaida / Nubia +Yemen (Taiz)A beautiful ‘maadhid musannan’ of high quality chasing and excellent repoussee techniques. Hollow and Silver 900/1000 acid tested The ornament was not polished to preserve the patina. ∅ inner 7cm ∅ outer 12cm H 3cm W111g. Similar sample page 139 Silver Treasures ; Price € 180.
Bracelet upper arm Rashaida / Yemen (Al-Dhahiyy ) A lovely so called cucumber style armlet with fine granulation work resembles work done by silversmith Al-Arifi in Wasab using good silver alloy around 800/1000 acid tested The ornament was not polished to preserve the patina. ∅ inner 7cm ∅ outer 12cm H2cm W146g Similar sample p 139 Silver Treasures, Price €150
Rashaida/Nubia+Yemen (Al-Dhahiyy )These superb cucumber style armlets have fine chasing and repoussee work. The ornaments are hollow and in very good condition with some creasing/denting due to wearing. They have lovely patina, thus were not polished. The silverbase around 800/1000 acid tested The ornament was not polished to preserve the patina.∅ inner 7cm ∅ outer 12 cmH 2.5cm W 205g. Similar sample page 139/184 Silver Treasures ; Price € 300
Rashaida /Ethiopia +Nubia +Yemen ( Al-Dhahiyy ) Gracious granulated pair with conical studs. They are supposed to represent breast and to ensure abundant milk . The maádhid are opened by screw lock with flower bud motive The inside of the bracelets shows a stamp of the silversmith .silverbase >800 (Maria Theresia coin silver) have not been polished to preserve patina ∅ 5.5cm H 4.cm W 180 g Similar sample page 139 Silver Treasures, p.98/143 A World of Bracelets; Price €400 ANTIQUE ETHNIC SILVER BRACELET PAIR YEMEN RASHAIDA CONICAL STUDS
Pair of Bracelets Rashaida / Ethiopia + Nubia. Wonderful granulated silver pair with conical studs ending in small soldered spheres , supposed to represent breasts to ensure abundant milk Bracelets are two hinged with a removable pin.Silverbase >800 – Maria Theresia coin silver They are not polished to preserve the patina.∅ 5cm H 4.5cm W 129g Unfortunately one is broken in vertical line but easy to be forged. Similar sample p108 Silver Treasures Price € 150
Rashaida / Yemen +Ethiopia.Cast solid anklets engraved with crosses and mullion motives with three forged polyhedral pommels. Ornament is not polished to preserve the patina and made of a moderate silver alloy around 700 acid tested.∅ inner 9x8cm ∅ outer11cmH1.5 cm W430 g Similar sample p.33/99 A World of Bracelets € 175
Rasheida / Yemen+ Ethiopia Solid anklets engraved with insignia and crosses, slightly worn away by use, lovely patina. The ornaments were opened between the pommels and show black wax inside. The pair not polished to preserve the patina and silver alloy around 700 acid tested. ∅inner 9x8cm ∅ outer10.5cm H12cm W582g Similar sample p.99 A World of BraceletsPrice €200
Bracelet/ Armlet Rashaida / Yemen + Nubia -Zar Interesting upper arm ornament decorated with rhombic and round shapes and filligree pattern plus twenty-five spheres. Silver around 700 acid tested. This type of armlet is also to be found as Zar ornament.∅ inner 8 cm Front H 2.5cm W176 g Similar sample p 173 Enchanted Yewelry Price €200
Pair of Bracelets Rashaida / Yemen +Nubia The aggressive appearance of this hollow pair, may indicate that the ornaments were designed to protect . They also circulate in other parts of the Red Sea area. Nicely worn and of good silver base made from the Maria Theresa thaler (MTT) 833.3 acid tested ∅ inner 4.5cm ∅ outer10 cm H2.5 cm W210 g Similar sample on front and back page of ” Silver Speaks, Traditional Jewelry of the Middle East “, exhibition at the Bead Museum in Washington, DC, 2002-2003. – Price € 300