Those familiar with the Hebrew scriptures (what Christians call the Old Testament) know that often a given name was accompanied with a place name. Up into New Testament times, we read Saul of Tarsus, Jesus of Nazareth and many other such names. So it would not be unusual that such a tradition should hold among a tightly knit community of minority people in a place such as Iraq or Yemen.
This bead is an important cultural artifact of the Yemenites, especially of the work of the Jewish silversmiths. Such beads were usually strung on necklace with amulets for the bride to wear on her wedding day and then own as a dowry, such as in this photograph (see more information on this piece here. This culture no longer exists in Yemen. By 1948, the silversmith workshops had closed and the artisans had gone to the state of Israel.
This bead is a handsome ornament when hung on a chain or cord, or used as the focus of a beaded necklace, such as I have done in this design put together with a bead much like the one that is the subject of this blog entry.
Dimensions of signed bead in first photo: 34 mm (1.33 in) x 36 mm (1.4 in)