Enquiry about object: 5552

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    Yemeni Silver and Coral Bead Necklace

    early 20th century

    circumference: approx. 45cm, weight: 125g

    Available Enquire


    UK art market

    This very wearable necklace is from Yemen, and most probably from the Mahwit area, in western Yemen. Such necklaces usually were reserved for wear at weddings and other important life festivities. Brides were often presented with such necklaces which they subsequently regarded as among their most important jewellery.

    It comprises old, original and genuine coral beads and round and faceted silver beads, bell-shaped silver beads and three plaques of hollow silver sheet decorated with applied silver filigree and granulation work.

    The orange-red colour of the coral symbolises youth and beauty. Also, coral was believed to staunch bleeding. Such necklaces were worn by local Arabic women as well as by local Yemenite Jewish women.

    A related necklace is illustrated in Ransom (2014, p. 73 and p. 101), and Ben-Ami (2002, ill. 12).

    The necklace is stable and wearable. It closes with a silver hook and eye closing mechanism which is easy to take on and off.


    Ben-Ami, A. (ed.), In All Their Finery: Jewels from the Jewish World, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2002.

    Ransom, M., Silver Treasures from the Land of Sheba: Regional Yemeni Jewelry, AUC Press, 2014.

    Seiwert, W.D., Jewellery from the Orient: Treasures from the Bir Collection, Arnoldsche Art Publishers, 2009.

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