Monday, August 19, 2013

Antique Silver Bedihi Beads from Yemen

The century old Mediterranean red coral beads are the natural accompaniment to the numerous silver Bedihi beads on this fine necklace from Yemen.  In the market place the same beads are called berry beads, especially the small ones.

Antique Rare Silver Bedihi Berry and Coral Beaded Necklace from Yemen 

Veronica Wainstein is the owner of arabiafelixjewels and an expert on Yemen jewelry.  From her I learned that  'The Bedihi family was one of the most famous of Yemeni Jewish jewellers in the last two centuries. Their exquisite granulation work, the berry beads and the dugag cylinder beads show the expertise of these jewellers. The main dugag beads are all hallmarked by the artist. All Yemeni  jewels  hallmarked are from before 1940.'

The detailed granulation in the beads that seem to be built drop by drop with a lot of open space showing even in the small beads.  This allows the beads to make a strong impact without being too heavy for comfort.  

The pendant shaped as a crown with the dangles is capped with a larger Bedihi bead and there are two more on the side strings of coral and Bedihi beads.  The crown shaped pendant is an ornament usually worn hanging from the headband or head covering; a pair of such ornaments hang on each side of the face.  

Coral beads, Bedihi beads and often the beautiful Bawsani beads hang by the pound on a bride wearing her dowry on her wedding day.  The wedding jewelry will probably also include some dugag beads that are usually signed by the maker.  They are large hollow globe beads that wear so beautifully and develop a fine patina.  See an example here: 

Antique Yemen Silver Bead Pendant Signed by Silversmith   

Necklaces, head covers, earrings, bracelets, armlets worn above the elbow, rings on all the fingers and even on her toes tax the brides in wealthy families with a heavy burden on her wedding day.  No wonder we always see her seated in the wedding pictures. 

Here is a detailed view of the necklace above: 

I invite you to visit the studio and see this and the other Judaica available there.