Silver Gains Circulation [Archives:1998/45/Culture]

November 9 1998

Silver as a metal has its own attractiveness and magic. Through centuries, Yemen has been famous for making silver jewelry of nice and distinguished traditional designs. This jewelry is bought very commonly by expatriates as well as Yemenis. 
Nowadays, Italian-fashioned silver jewels have become the fashion here. Ladies prefer their modern designs of Italian silver jewels rather than the original Yemeni designs. 
To shed more light upon this topic, I met Al-Hamdi Ghalib, a silver shop owner: 
Silver and gold are different only in price but they are equally beautiful and each has its own magic. About 20 years ago, I used to sell gold in my shop. Seeing that silver began to be the fashion, I turned it into a silver jewelry shop. People look for change and so they buy silver jewels of modern designs. But, still, there are many Yemeni ladies and expatriates who prefer the traditionally-designed jewelry. Of course, most of our customers are young ladies. They buy jewels more than men because they care more about such things. 
Yemeni men buy valuable rings. Foreign men buy rings and bracelets. For children, we make chains and amulets, on which verses of the Holy Qura’an are written. 
A gram of silver jewelry sometimes costs 100 to 200 riyals. The most valuable pieces made for women in my shop are bracelets. A bracelet costs YR 500 to YR 7,000. The cheapest pieces are rings. The most costly pieces made for men are rings ornamented with precious stones. A ring may cost YR 8,000 to 10,000 and the cheapest pieces we make for them are chains. 
1. A housewife, 23, with a diploma degree: 
It is true that silver jewels are available in the market in new and beautiful designs; but, in my opinion, gold is still more popular. I see that many shops are open for selling silver jewels in Sanaa and every shop offers different things. People used to buy silver pieces because they were cheaper, but now they are expensive. Pieces like rings and necklaces ornamented with precious stones are too expensive. Personally, I buy silver pieces, sometimes expensive ones, when I find them nice. 
There is no similarity between silver and gold pieces. I wear gold at big occasions like wedding and engagement ceremonies, and silver when I gather with my friends. 
2. A single lady, 24, holds BA in Administrative Sciences: 
I’m happy to find silver ornaments of different designs available at last in Yemen. In the past, I had to ask my friends in some Gulf countries to send me the jewelry I like. But now I can get them easily here, no matter if they are expensive. 
When you go to goldsmith shops and then you go to silversmith shops you find totally different designs. This makes me buy both gold and silver ornaments. Usually, I wear gold at wedding ceremonies and silver at evening parties. 
Ahlam Al-Khawlani, 
Yemen Times