Visiting Nizwa – Oman’s Old Silver Jewellery Capital
Nizwa, in Oman’s interior, was an important centre for the manufacture of silver jewellery for Bedouin clients. For that reason we visited it recently. (It was also the old capital of Oman, when Oman and Muscat were essentially ruled as two different territories.) Today, there is little or no silver production in the city. Oman’s growing wealth means that locals generally only want gold jewellery. So silversmiths have been replaced by goldsmiths. Some of the gold replicates the old silver forms and this gold jewellery is in demand as bridal jewellery. But we were still interested to see the city for historical reasons.
Traditional Nizwa silver jewellery often was decorated with gold plaques as in the two hirz of amulet box shown here (which we have or have had in stock). Bedouin clients from all around would commission jewellery from Nizwa, and it seems to have been exported across Oman.
The remainder of the images show what Nizwa looks like today. The city is fast developing with shopping malls on the outskirts, but the old centre is still largely intact.
Other centres for silver jewellery production in Oman were Ibra, Ibri and Sur. We visited each of these. There is still a strong sense of Nizwa’s jewellery past and the city’s fort has reasonably good examples on display in its museum. But the silver jewellery past of these other locations have largely disappeared.
See other examples of our Middle Eastern & North African jewellery.
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