Antique Famous Bawsani Silver Filigree Bead
by Yemenite Silversmith
Using components from older jewelry is no new enterprise. From ancient times, later settlers moved onto the rubble of previous communities and picked up the stones and other baubles made by the people of the vanished culture and made adornments from them. Pieces of obsidian, polished agate eye beads, animal tooth ivory and carved bones and shells were gathered on a string and became a kind of wealth for the finder.
Modern artisans can easily follow the tradition. My own collection of valuable orphan beads and pendants comes from Yemen, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Yemen pieces have become extremely rare in these times, because (1) there was a limited amount of such jewelry left behind in Yemen when the Jewish silversmiths moved to Israel in the 1940s and (2) the political situation at present is so unstable that it is difficult to carry on international commerce. Here is one of the famous Bawsani beads that I salvaged from a Yemen dress yoke that had become so ragged that the beads were falling from it.