Jewellery Hand Crafts in the State of Kuwait

0
799
Country: Kuwait

Gold and silver jewellery have been admired and used by Kuwaiti women for quite a long time. As a result, jewellery crafts (Syaqah) flourished and continue to be in demand. Gold-smithing continues to be practiced as a family craft and business. Many families in Kuwait were named after this craft, such as the “Al-Sayeq” family. Other families that were known to be highly involved in it are Al-Arbash, Al-Bather and Al-Hajee families. Gold and silver as raw materials were imported from close by countries such as India. Platinum, pearl, precious stones and beads are also used to create beautiful jewellery for females, depending on age and financial capability.

Jewellery in Kuwait is made mainly for women rather than men because men are prohibited from wearing gold for religious reasons. There are different designs made of gold or silver for women to wear on their heads, necks, ears, chests, waist, fingers and feet. Most desired gold jewellery is made of 21-24 carats. Precious stones such as diamond, agate, turquoise, ruby and other semi-precious stones are used to enhance the appearance of women’s jewellery.

Golden jewellery is mostly used by city women in Kuwait, while silver jewellery is more desirable by Bedouin women “daughters of the tribes”. This term is recently being used to identify Bedouin females who settled in the city and no longer live in the desert in nomad tribes.  Some women believe that wearing silver jewellery will protect them from envy. Currently, golden jewellery is increasingly in demand by both city and Bedouin women to be dressed for casual and special occasions, such as weddings and all different types of celebrations. Such jewellery is sold in gold shops which are located in almost every traditional market and modern mall. Most of the golden jewellery in Kuwait is either hand made with simple hand tools such as special hammers, pliers, special hand saws, special molding frames and welding devices or imported and made by mechanical means.

Native and foreign artisans working in jewellery use different techniques such as soldering, casting, carving, granulation, filigree, embossing, and enamel. In soldering, artisans use hard, fusing and colloidal techniques. Casting is often used for making silver and some gold rings; as well as, parts of some necklaces, ear rings, and bracelets. Carving is often used to make gold balls, and enamel is used to decorate parts of the silver golden jewellery. Soldering is a very common technique to make gold and silver chains, as well as, jewellery with raised designs. The number of native jewellery makers in Kuwait is in decline; yet, it is being replaced by foreign artisans, mainly coming India and Pakistan. Some of those artisans learned jewellery making by formal training; yet, and sizable number of them learned the craft by apprenticeship at an early age as part of their family businesses.

  1. l-Maghribi, Salwa (2004). Jewellery in Kuwait: In the Past. Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait. Kuwait.
  2. Jamal, Mohamad A. (2009). The Old Crafts, Trades, and Commercial Activities in Kuwait. Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait. Kuwait.

 

C-1) A gold smith artisan in his workstation with all of his hand tools fixing a gold broken gold chain.

C-2) A gold smith artisan in his workstation hand polishing a silver bracelet coated with gold.

C-3) Different styles and designs of golden necklaces and ear rings on display in the gold market.

C-4) Different designs of golden bracelet with precious stones

Gold and silver jewellery have been admired and used by Kuwaiti women for quite a long time. As a result, jewellery crafts (Syaqah) flourished and continue to be in demand. Gold-smithing continues to be practiced as a family craft and business. Many families in Kuwait were named after this craft, such as the “Al-Sayeq” family. Other families that were known to be highly involved in it are Al-Arbash, Al-Bather and Al-Hajee families. Gold and silver as raw materials were imported from close by countries such as India. Platinum, pearl, precious stones and beads are also used to create beautiful jewellery for females, depending on age and financial capability.

Jewellery in Kuwait is made mainly for women rather than men because men are prohibited from wearing gold for religious reasons. There are different designs made of gold or silver for women to wear on their heads, necks, ears, chests, waist, fingers and feet. Most desired gold jewellery is made of 21-24 carats. Precious stones such as diamond, agate, turquoise, ruby and other semi-precious stones are used to enhance the appearance of women’s jewellery.

Golden jewellery is mostly used by city women in Kuwait, while silver jewellery is more desirable by Bedouin women “daughters of the tribes”. This term is recently being used to identify Bedouin females who settled in the city and no longer live in the desert in nomad tribes.  Some women believe that wearing silver jewellery will protect them from envy. Currently, golden jewellery is increasingly in demand by both city and Bedouin women to be dressed for casual and special occasions, such as weddings and all different types of celebrations. Such jewellery is sold in gold shops which are located in almost every traditional market and modern mall. Most of the golden jewellery in Kuwait is either hand made with simple hand tools such as special hammers, pliers, special hand saws, special molding frames and welding devices or imported and made by mechanical means.

Native and foreign artisans working in jewellery use different techniques such as soldering, casting, carving, granulation, filigree, embossing, and enamel. In soldering, artisans use hard, fusing and colloidal techniques. Casting is often used for making silver and some gold rings; as well as, parts of some necklaces, ear rings, and bracelets. Carving is often used to make gold balls, and enamel is used to decorate parts of the silver golden jewellery. Soldering is a very common technique to make gold and silver chains, as well as, jewellery with raised designs. The number of native jewellery makers in Kuwait is in decline; yet, it is being replaced by foreign artisans, mainly coming India and Pakistan. Some of those artisans learned jewellery making by formal training; yet, and sizable number of them learned the craft by apprenticeship at an early age as part of their family businesses.

  1. l-Maghribi, Salwa (2004). Jewellery in Kuwait: In the Past. Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait. Kuwait.
  2. Jamal, Mohamad A. (2009). The Old Crafts, Trades, and Commercial Activities in Kuwait. Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait. Kuwait.

 

C-2) A gold smith artisan in his workstation hand polishing a silver bracelet coated with gold.

C-3) Different styles and designs of golden necklaces and ear rings on display in the gold market.

C-4) Different designs of golden bracelet with precious stones

LEAVE A REPLY