Friday, June 17, 2011

Yemen Amber

Amber is used widely in Yemen jewelry.  In fact, one of the Yemeni word for beads in general is the same word used for the substance amber.

One of the favorite ways of stringing amber with silver is this method of capping the bead at each end with a piece of delicately worked silver.  Note below:

Amber is treated in many ways in order to provide variety in the appearance of the jewelry.  Some amber may be a rather chalky pale yellow, formed into large cubes and featured as a string of only 1 or 3 chunks of such amber on a necklace of large silver globes.  The more refined amber may be narrow tubular brown amber with 4 or 6 longitudinal facets cut and polished then strung with small, silver filigree pieces and featuring the q'tub as the major piece on the string.  As shown above, this dark red translucent amber that will still give off the resin fragrance when rubbed is greatly to be desired and is appropriately strung with custom-sized caps.   The natural amber that is a golden yellow, some more translucent than others, is also prized and strung as beads without much silver or is often treated with the custom-fabricated caps.  

Yemen has since centuries before Christ yielded prize resins such as frankincense and myrrh from its trees.   Amber is an even more ancient product of the resinous plants of  Yemen.  

Like coral, amber is a native of Yemen.  We will discuss the coral beads in the next post.