Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shopping for exotic jewellry

I have found that buying accessories to families and friends is a success. When traveling in Europe, the quality of jewelry vary a great deal. When I visited Istanbul and Marrakech I found truly hand made accessories at ridiculous prices. Here are a few pieces I bought as examples.

Fatima's Hand - protecting against the evil eye

I bought this beautiful, large amulet formed as Fatima's Hand from a salesman in Rue Riad Zitoun el Kdim, in the Kasbah area.

On sale for around 200 Moroccan dirhams (18€), the claim that it is made from silver is highly unlikely, but I do not mind, as it is a beautiful piece of art with its decorations and large turquoise like stones.

The hamsa (Arabic: خمسة ‎, khamsa, lit. five, also romanized khamsa and chamsa) is named after Fatima Zahra, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad.

I bought it as a lucky charm, as Fatima's hand is said, throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East, to protect the bearers from the evil eye. Due to this property, I have bought it to protect our beautiful summer home from evil forces.

Turkmen folk art

Above and on my right is an example of Turkmen folk art that I bought in the Grand Bazaar at Istanbul. It is said to originate from either Turkmenistan or Turkmen areas in neighbouring Afghanistan.

If I had space in my suitcase, I would have certainly have bought more from this shop.

I do not think it is a traditional piece of jewelry. I think it is more a decorative piece, made to be sewn on to a traditional folk costume. Some of the textile is, in fact, still in place on the back of it.

It consists of beads made from glass or ceramics, set on a base of a metal, probably pewter. It cost me around 30 Euros.

A Turkmen money belt.

Forgotten your purse? Then it would be a good idea to fasten your change to your belt.

I bought another highly original piece of jewelry from the Turkmens in Istanbul. A long narrow belt set with pearls, metal buttons and a long row of what looks like coins.

Another rustic item, with a wide possibility of use. This is not something anyone would use. I have thought of using it as a border on a lamps shade or set on another decorative object. For sale for 20 Euros, it is so much more decorative and original than something for sale in any standard shop in Europe.

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