Jewelry

Jewelry

Apart from enhancing the female beauty and simultaneously being an important means of investment (frontal jewelry, ear jewelry, temple jewelry, armlets, anklets, earrings and - for Bedouin women - nose rings), jewelry also had another important function: it was used as amulets. Apart from a large number of small amulets, the significance of which in some instances can be traced back to the traditions of the ancient Near East (e.g. holed-disc amulets), there is a large group of typically Islamic amulets, the hidshabs. These are containers for texts from the Koran, magic squares or blessings, which may be cylindrical, triangular or rectangular, or - more rarely - round or octagonal in shape. Often they were sewn onto the clothing. More frequently, however, several of them are combined (e.g. triangular and cylindrical shapes) and attached to chains to be worn round the neck or across the shoulder.

Traditionally the most important material for jewelry was silver, but for poorer people copper and bronze were also used. Silver gilt and gold were less common and used only in exceptional cases. Precious stones played no part in folk jewelry, but semi-precious stones occur occasionally. Cornelian, agate, turquoise and amber were the first choice, and magical properties were attributed to them because of their colors. Consequently glass beads of the same colors could be substituted.
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