jewelry in the new era

Jewelry's function as a savings bank and insurance policy is particularly apparent in the frequent use of unal­tered coins as pendants, arranged in rows on headbands, in earrings etc.

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The economic importance of jewelry is further demonstrated by the fact that it was produced in large quantities meant to be worn as an ensemble. Here the quantity of jewelry and its weight were more important than the quality of the craftsmanship. Temple pendants, armlets and anklets were usually worn in pairs. The most important indication of quality was the silver content. Since no silver was mined in the region, the raw material was obtained by melting down worn-out old jewelry and coins. Besides Ottoman coins, Maria Theresa dollars were particularly popular because of their high silver content. In the present century they were still being struck in Vienna specially for the oriental market.

 

The most practical way of presenting the jewelry for this region, due to similarity of designs, functions and techniques, seemed to be by classifying it according to the way it was worn.

Writers of Jewelry (Mershen and Weir), writing of Jordan and Palestine respectively, note that since the 1940s the production silver jewelry has been largely supplanted by gold jewelry in a rather uniform style. This is basically due to the "drastic economic change in the first half of this century. According to Mershen, in the 1960s the production of silver jewelry in Jordan had largely ceased.

 

Wajdy moustapha

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