Traditional Bedouin crafts jewellery

Traditionally, Bedouin jewellery (pictured) is made of silver, usually studded with amber, coral, agate, cornelian, pearls or turquoise. Most pieces are large and dramatic. Necklaces and pendants characteristically feature silver bells, balls, coloured beads, coins and links of intricate chainmail mesh. Bracelets and anklets are chunky and heavy, some weighing as much as 200 grams. Their surface is usually embossed with calligraphy and can be left unadorned or set with semiprecious stones. Finger, ear, nose and head ornaments are varied in their style, but most have their surfaces decorated with either abstract motifs or flowing curvilinears inspired by the teachings of the holly Qur'an.

Bedouin women receive their jewellery as a wedding present. Customarily, a prospective bridegroom pays the bride's father a dowry, part of which he uses to buy jewellery for his daughter. Under Muslim law, any jewellery bestowed on the bride in this nuptial settlement becomes her own property and insurance in times of need.

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Capital: Riyadh
Region: Arab States

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