Omani antique silver earrings
Omani antique silver earrings

SILVER EARRINGS

 Already after two weeks a new born baby´s ears are pierced in Oman. In the book "travels of Arabia" by Lieut Wellsted 1838 he gives a detailed description of his travels in Oman, on page 351 he states " Among the lower classes , their dress otherwise consists of a loose  pair of trousers, with a running girdle, and a large gown or skirt of blue cotton; their arms and ankles are decorated with bracelets  and ankle-rings of silver or amber (?); and in their ears they wear a variety of rings and other ornaments "Wellsted also writes in 1838:  "Considerable sums are lavished by the females in the purchase of various silver ornaments, and their children are literally burdened with them. I have counted as many as fifteen ear-rings on either side" ! Clearly referring to the Dufuf / Nisa earrings. In the photo in Bibi Salme´s Memoirs to an Arabian princess 1886 she also wears Dufuf / Nisa earrings, but these may have been of gold. 

Emily Ruete author of Memoiren Einer Arabischen Prinzessin

Emily Ruete in Memoirs of an Arabian Princess (1888 Ward & Downey London edition page 62) writes:  "if it be a girl, she has holes pricked in her ears on the seventh day (after birth) with a needle and thread of red silk, generally six holes in each ear, to which heavy gold rings are attached for ever when she is two months old.  I say "for ever" because females who do not wear earrings either mourn a deceased relation or they have no holes pierced"  

Omani antique silver earrings

Omani antique silver Nisa earrings 

!

Antique Omani silver earrings Rare complete piece of Omani jewelry.

Antique Omani silver Nisa earrings Rare complete piece of Omani jewelry

Very Rare complete set of antique Nisa earrings. These ear-rings consist of a long tapering tube with thin silver wire coiled around it.  This example consists of  two bundles of medium size Dufuf earrings with a total of 10 earrings. Complete set with original support-strap made of rope and in fine quality.   Without the support strap the ears could not cope with the heavy weight. The loops may still be hooked through the ear. They were owned by the wealthiest of women. C.S.D Cole wrote in 1847: "The women who do not cover their faces  and are not at all good looking, generally wear a profusion of silver ornaments , - the ears in particular, which are perforated in numerous places , being completely studded with large rings: the weight  is supported by a cord passed through through the whole and tied over the head.He is probably referring to the Dufuf / Nisa earrings.  Weight 550 grams

Antique Omani silver earrings

Arab names: Dufuf / Nisa (the ear-ring support strap is called Mishil)

Period: 1800-1900 

Origin: Oman: Bedouin Women of the hadr (town) part of the tribe

 

    References:
  1. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 75-p 77  bottom; p 164
  2. Catalog of the Oman exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam 2009 page 131
  3. An account of an overland journey from Leskairee to Meskat  and the Green mountains of Oman Trans. Bombay Geographical Society Vol VIII 1847
  4. Wellsted Travels in Arabia 1838 London John Murray
  5. Islamic Art in Oman page 336 Pict 2
  6. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman by Jean Greffioz 2009 (privately published) page 40 and 41  fig 3.9 and 3.10 has photo with a similar item.
  7. Richard Francis Burton's description of Arab  women in his book  Zanzibar: City, Island and Coast London 1872 p114-115  was far from flattering "The half caste Zanzibar girl enviously eyes the Arab woman, a heap of unwashed cottons on invisible feet, with the Masqat masque  exposing only her unrecognizable eyeballs. The former wears a single piece of red silk or chequered cotton. Her frizzly hair is twisted into pigtails; her eyelids are stained black; her eyebrows are lengthened with paint; her ear-rims are riddled with a dozen holes to admit rings, wooden buttons or metal studs, whilst the slit lobes, distended by elastic twists of coloured palm-leaf  whose continual expansion prodigiously enlarges the aperture, are fitted with a painted disk, an inch and a half in diameter. If pretty, and therefore wealthy, she wears heavy silver earrings run through the shell of the ear; her thumbs have similar decorations and massive bangles of white metal adorn, like manacles and fetters, her wrists and ancles. One wing of her nose is bored  to admit a stud- even the patches of Europe were not more barbarous. "

 

Below you UAE Youtube film discussing a similar set of Omani silver earrings: 

Antique Omani silver earrings (large size)

Scarce very large size Omani Nisa earrings with spikes. Variant version  with sharp spikes. Weight 125 gram. The tube has a length of 13,5 cm. 

 

Antique Omani silver earrings

Arab names: Dufuf / Nisa

Period: 1800-1950

Origin:Oman: Bedouin Women of the hadr (town) part of the tribes / Dhofar?

References:
  1. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 75-p 77 bottom; p 164
  2. Catalog of the Oman exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam 2009 page 131
  3. An account of an overland journey from Leskairee to Meskat and the Green mountains of Oman Trans. Bombay Geographical Society Vol VIII 1847
  4. Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster p 57 fig 47
  5. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p40 (but without the spikes)

Antique Omani silver Nisa earring (miniature baby size)

Antique Omani silver Nisa earring

Extremely rare and very old miniature Dufuf ear-ring for a baby. Weight only  5 grams. Length 6 cm! 

 

Antique Omani silver earring

Antique miniature Omani silver earring  

Arab names: Dufuf / Nisa earring

Period: 1800-1900

Origin: Oman: Bedouin Women of the hadr (town) part of the tribes

References:
  1. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 75-p 77 bottom p 164
  2. Catalog of the Oman exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam 2009 page 131
  3. An account of an overland journey from Leskairee to Meskat and the Green mountains of Oman Trans. Bombay Geographical Society Vol VIII 1847

Antique Omani silver earring (medium size)

silver Nisa earrings

Scarce antique Omani Rukun earring (note the different style) Weight 45 grams. The tube is 10 cm long. 

Antique Omani silver earring

Arab name: Rukun

Period: 1850-1950

Origin: Oman: Bedouin Women of the hadr (town) part of the tribes

References:
  1. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 75-p 77 bottom; p 164
  2. Catalog of the Oman exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam 2009 page 131
  3. An account of an overland journey from Leskairee to Meskat and the Green mountains of Oman Trans. Bombay Geographical Society Vol VIII 1847
  4. Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster p 59 fig 48
  5. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 41-42
  6. Oman and its Renaissance  by Sir Donald Hawley Stacey International London 1987 page 138 photo top left

Two pairs of antique Silver Omani Ghalamiyat earrings with different finials

Silver Omani Ghalamiyat earrings

Two scarce pairs of scarce of Ghalamiyat earrings. The earrings are of an ancient design. With 2 shapes of finials: rectangular and leaf shaped / tear drop. The leaf / tear-drop shaped finials are rare and the rectangular finials are common. For the leaf / tear-drop shaped version see Omani Silver Ruth Hawley 1978 section on earrings. Total weight 460 grams. 46 cm long. Rectangular finial: 6 cm leaf shaped finial 4 cm Individual earrings are approx 11 cm long and weigh approx 50-58 grams. Pair of silver earrings (ghalamiyat) consisting of a large ovoid bead with a raised central band decorated with silver bosses. The ovoid bead is further ornamented with beaded and twisted silver wire wrapped around its circumference. A pyramid of silver balls ending with a bead of mulberry granulation hangs from the bottom tip of the ovoid bead. Soldered to the top is a plain round silver hook. These earrings are too heavy to be hung from pierced earlobes. Rather, for everyday wear they are hung from a loop of leather (shinag) which went right around the ear.  For special occasions, the earrings are hooked from the loops of a silver head-strap (mishill)

Antique Omani silver earrings

Antique Omani silver earrings

Arab names: Ghalamiyat  / Galamiyat  (Earrrings)

Period: 1850-1950

Origin:Worn by Omani women in Central and Northern Oman

References:
  1. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond Miranda Morris  / Apex London 1997 p 165
  2. Omani Silver Ruth Hawley 1978 section earrings (no pagination)
  3. Craft heritage of Oman Neil Richardson & Maria Dorr Part two p 438 fig 17 p 439 fig 23
  4. Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster p 58 fig 49 ; Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz 36
  5. British Museum on-line collection number 2009,6023.174-175 has the same earrings length 11 cm Weight 57 and 58 grams. Pair of silver earrings (ghalamiyat) consisting of a large ovoid bead with a raised central band decorated with silver bosses. The ovoid bead is further ornamented with beaded and twisted silver wire wrapped around its circumference. A pyramid of silver balls ending with a bead of mulberry granulation hangs from the bottom tip of the ovoid bead. Soldered to the top is a plain round silver hook. These earrings are too heavy to be hung from pierced earlobes. Rather, for everyday wear they are hung from a loop of leather (shinag) which went right around the ear. For special occasions, the earrings are hooked from the loops of a silver head-strap (mishill, see for example 2009,6023.186-187) Worn by the Bedouin women of Central Oman
  6. British Museum also has similar chains ref 2009,6023.186-187 length 35,5 and 37,5 cm A pair of silver head-bands or head-chains (mishill, literally 'support') used to support heavy ear-rings or ear pendants (ghalamiyyah). Each head-chain is made of six strands of box-chains (three on each side, which are connected in the centre by a fastener made of three soldered figure-of-eight loops) On one end of the head-chain is a large silver hoop, used to suspend an ear-ring, and a tear-drop shaped pendant acts as a decorative counterweight on the other end. The tear-drop is decorated with beaded wire. Worn by Bedouin women in Northern and Central Oman 
  7. Islamic Art in Oman page 347
  8. Oman and its Renaissance  by Sir Donald Hawley Stacey International London 1987 page 138 photo similar earrings
  9. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman by Jean Greffioz 2009 (privately published) page 36 fig 3.4 has photo with a similar item.
  10. The Heritage of Oman by Peter Vine Immel Publishing 1995 page 56 example of a similar prehistoric silver earring found in Oman
  11. Oman Faces and places, articles from PDO News magazine 2009 page 14 photo of a similar prehistoric earring found in Oman

A pair of Omani silver Ghalamiyat earrings with matching chains and rectangular finials covered in gold leaf.

Ghalamiyat earrings

 

Two scarce antique Omani silver Ghalamiyat earrings with matching chains (head-bands) and rectangular finials covered in gold leaf. Total Weight 500 grams and 48 cm long.  Individual Earring 12 cm long and weight  90 grams.

  

 

 

Antique Omani silver earrings

   Antique Omani silver earrings

Antique Omani silver earring

 

Arab names: Ghalamiyat / Galamiyat

Period: 1930-1960

Origin: Oman Dhahirah

 References:
  1. Oman Adorned by  Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 165
  2. Omani Silver Ruth Hawley 1978 section earrings (no pagination)
  3. Craft heritage of Oman Neil Richardson & Maria Dorr Part two p 438 fig 17 p 439 fig 23
  4. Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster p 58 fig 49
  5. Silver jewellery of Oman by Jehan S Rajab 1997 p 7
  6. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 36
  7. British Museum on-line collection number 2009,6023.176-177 Weight individual earrings 70 and 72 grams length 11,5 cm Pair of silver earrings (ghalamiyat) consisting of a large ovoid bead with a raised central band decorated with small silver spikes. The ovoid bead is made from several lengths of twisted silver wire, creating a hollow bird-cage effect. A pyramid of silver balls ending with a bead of mulberry granulation hangs from the bottom tip of the ovoid bead. Soldered to the top is a plain round silver hook. These earrings are too heavy to be hung from pierced earlobes. Rather, for everyday wear they are hung from a loop of leather (shinag) which hangs around the ear. For special occasions, the earrings are hooked from the loops of a silver head-strap (mishill, see for example 2009,6023.186-187). Worn by the Bedouin women of Central Oman
  8. Oman Faces and Places page 14 Similar archaeological example!
  9. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman by Jean Greffioz 2009 (privately published) page 36 fig 3.4 has photo with a similar item.

Antique Omani silver Silver Bedouin head dresses mishil

Antique Omani Bedouin silver head dresses mishil

 Common silver Bedouin head dresses mishil (=support)  Length 43 cm loop to loop. Weight 180 grams.   

 

 

 

 

 

Omani silver earring

 

Antique Omani silever earrings

 

Arab names: Antique Omani silver Silver Bedouin head dresses mishil and loop earrings mishil and loop earrings (Halqa or Hilqa)

Period: 1850-1950

Origin: Oman

References:
  1. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 158-161
  2. Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster 51
  3. Silver jewellery of Oman by Jehan S Rajab 1997 p 227
  4. PDO News No 4/1992 Oman silver Jewelry by Rebecca Brickson p 26
  5. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman by Jean Greffioz 2009 (privately published) page 34 fig 3,1 has photo with a similar item.

Antique Omani silver Earrings. Including coral beads.

Antique Omani silver Halka Earring. Including coral beads.

 

Rare complete set of antique Halka Earrings. Including real coral beads. Fine antique piece of Omani jewelry  Length 72 cm 275 grams.

 

 

 Antique Omani silver earrings

Antique Omani silver earrings

Arab name: Dufuf  (means tambourines) The silver chain is called Mashill / Mishill

Period: 1850-1950

Origin:  Oman: Sur

References:
  1.  Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 71
  2. British Museum has a similar headband (without the earrings) in their on-line collection number 2009.6023.185
  3. Oman Faces and Places page 135 (identical example)
  4. PDO News No 4/1992 Oman silver Jewelry by Rebecca Brickson  p 26 .
  5. Oman Faces and places, articles from PDO News magazine 2009  page 135

Set of two antique Omani Triangle Earring or Hair-ornament

Set of two antique Omani silver Triangle Earring

 

Rare set of two Omani Triangle Earring Hangings  (Possibly from Jaalan).  Very fine craftsmanship. Rare in this quality.  Omani jewellery worn by women in Sur. Length without chains 10 cm. Weight 260 grams

 

Antique Omani silver earrings

 

Arab names: Kharam, shilla or Hilya li-sha´r (hair-ornament)

Period: 1850-1950

Origin: Oman: Sur, Jaalan and Sharqhiyah regions and by the Bedouin women

 References
  1. Oman Adorned by  Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 page 74 bottom
  2. Disappearing treasures of Oman Avelyn Forster figure 44 page 55. Craft heritage of Oman Neil Richardson & Maria Dorr Volume 2 p 439 fig 27 and fig 24
  3. Silver jewellery of Oman by Jehan S Rajab 1997 p 57
  4. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman by Jean Greffioz 2009 (privately published) page 39 fig 3.7 has photo with a similar item.
  5. The Wereld museum Rotterdam has a similar set of earrings in their collection. ex collection Smith / Hutschenruyter. Inventory 77058

Omani silver Triangle Earring or hair-ornament

Omani silverTriangle Earring

 

Common more recent Omani Triangle Earring Hangings (Possibly from Jaalan). Worn by women in Sur. More crudely made than the previous set.   

 

 

Arab names: Kharam, shilla or Hilya li-sha´r (hair-ornament)

Period: 1950-1960

Origin: Oman: Sur, Jaalan and Sharqhiyah regions and by the Bedu women

References:
  1. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997  p 74 bottom
  2. Disappearing treasures of Oman Avelyn Forster figure 44 page 55
  3. Craft heritage of Oman Neil Richardson & Maria Dorr Volume 2 p 439 fig 27 and fig 24
  4. Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster 55 fig 44
  5. Silver jewellery of Oman by Jehan S Rajab 1997 p 27
  6. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 39
  7. Ethnic Jewellery from Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands 2002 Amsterdam Pepin Press  p 55

Antique Omani silver Triangle Earring Hangings

Antique Omani silver Triangle Earring

 Very Omani Triangle Earring Hangings. (Kharam or Sils).See Ref 1 and Ref 2 for an identical pair. Very rare . Very fine craftsmanship. Length 13 cm. Weight 105 grams. The thin " coins" with their strange design are very unusual, however two of the reference works have identical sets. Design of the "coins" possibly influenced by ancient Byzantine coins?

 

Antique Omani silver earrings 

Arab name: Kharam

Period: 1850-1950

Origin: Oman Sur or Jaalan  Zanzibar

References:
  1. Disappearing treasures of Oman Avelyn Forster figure 45 on Page 56 (identical set of earrings) rare reference for these earrings
  2. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 39 (same design of the strange pendants)

Antique Omani silver Triangle Earring Hangings (named Kharam or Sils), with ancient Venetian coins!!!!

Antique Omani silver Triangle Earring Hangings (named Kharam or Sils

Very rare (and interesting) Omani Triangle Earring Hangings (Kharam or Sils) with 12  (fire gilded) silver  Venetian coins (named Mishkash in Arabic) are at least over 210 years old.   These Mishkash coins are supposed to have special virtues for newly-married women. These old coins show on one site the Doge of Venice kneeling for St. Mark (the patron saint of Venice) and on the other side the image of Jesus Christ surrounded by stars.  See for more details Ref 1 by the famous Dutch Arabist Snouck Hurgronje.  In addition to the coins the earring itself  is probably also very old. In Islam human images in art are forbidden also it is forbidden to worship images or other gods, ironically that even in Mekka these Venetian coins with the image of Christ were favoured by local Arab women for jewellery....  The earrings and the coins have been fire gilded, however most of the gilding has worn of. This type of earring is very rare and old . The coins may have been bought in Mecca during Haj. However these coins were also used as coinage before the Maria Theresia Thalers started to be used.  Length: 57 cm long, Earring without chain 13 cm long.  Total Weight: 230 grams.

Antique Omani silver earrings

 

Antique Omani silver earrings

Antique Omani silver earrings with ancient Venetian coins with on one side the Dode of Venice and on the  other side the image of Jesus Christ! 

Arab name: Kharam (earring) Mishill (chain)

Period: 1700-1900

Origin: Oman Sur or Jaalan region

References:
  1. Mekka Vol 1: Die stadt und ihre herren Vol 2 Aus dem heutigen leben; by the famous Dutch Arabvit Snouck Hurgronje Martinus Nijhoff 1889 . Snouck Hurgronje lived in Mecca for a period. See Volume 2 page 166-167:   Most remarkably is that around 1890 in the heartland of Islam (Mecca & Medinah) local Arab women wore  old Venetian coins with human images as an Amulet. Even more spectacular was that on one side of these coins  the image of Jesus Christ is shown!!

Antique Omani silver earrings

 

Antique Omani silver earrings

Soon after Snouck Hurgronje returned from his stay in Mecca, he gave a lecture about his experiences in Mecca in Germany. One of the people attending the lecture was the Omani Princess Emily Ruete. They met after the lecture and stayed in touch ever since. Even two of  the children of Emily continued corresponding with Snouck Hurgronje.

  1. S.M. Zwemer  Arabia the cradle of Islam New York 1900 page 42-43 including illustration of a Venetian coin. For similar earring / hanger 
  2. 3. Ruth Hawley Silver the traditional Art of Oman (2000 edition) p 83 (but without the Venetian coins) suggests earring / hanger comes from Sur
  3. Richardson/ Dorr suggest Sur: The craft & heritage of Oman Vol 2 p 439 fig 24 top
  4. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 39  (but different pendants)
  5. British museum on-line collection has similar (delicate) earrings  ref: 2009 6023 151-152 but no old Venetian coins. Pair of hoop earrings (dufuf) with long triangular pendants (kharam). The triangular pendants suspended from the hoops are decorated with applied stamped designs, beaded wire and are also entirely gilded using gold leaf. The apex of the triangle is decorated with a granulated bead resembling a mulberry. Four loops are soldered to the base of each triangle from which danglers resembling coins hang from elaborate chains. These types of earrings were worn by the women of the coastal town of Sur in northern Oman, with or without the triangular pendants. .....Also typical of the Sur region (and perhaps further afield too) were the heavy triangular hangings (variously called kharam, shilla, or hilya li-sha'r, "hair ornament"...). Silver versions of these triangular hangings may have also have been worn widely in Jaalan, and by the women of Sharqiyah, and by the bedouin women of Central Oman, who attached them by means of a small hook to lie above the ears.' See Miranda Morris and Pauline Shelton, 'Oman Adorned: A Portrait in Silver' (Muscat and London, 1997), p.74. According to Avelyn Forster, 'These earrings would almost certainly have been first worn by the owner for her marriage ceremony, and thereafter on special occasions and feast days. 'Disappearing Treasures of Oman' (Clevedon, 2000), p.52.
  6. British Museum also has a similar chain ref 2009,6023.185 Silver head-band or head-strap (mishill, literally 'support') consists of two separate bands of several finely-woven silver chains that are flattened down and held together by silver plaques decorated with stamped floral designs. The two bands are connected by a small central hoop. Attached to the central hoop is another chain with a sharp triangular hook, used to keep the mishill in place by hooking on the hair or headscarf. Large ear-rings (sometimes called ear pendants), such as the ghalamiyyah (see 2009,6023.174-175) are suspended from the small hoops at each end of the mishill, which bear the weight of these types of heavy ear-rings. Worn under the head-cloth throughout Northern Oman
  7. The National Museum of Oman Highlights published by Scala Arts & Heritage publishers in  2016 page 29 shows an example of a golden Venetian coin found in Oman. However it does not mention the image of Jezus Christ on one site and that in the 19th century Arab women loved these coins as amulets, even in Mekka!

Antique Omani silver chain / head strap to support the earrings

Silver chain named Mishall

 

Very rare type of Mishall worn by women in Northern Oman.  The very rare lozenge shaped silver hanger probably does not belong with this chain. Purpose: support across the head for heavy earrings.  Weight 235 grams.          

 

Arab name: Mishall

Period: 1850-1950Origin: Northern Oman 

 

References:  

  1. The craft & heritage of Oman Vol 2 p 439 above fig 25.

Complex single earring, consisting of two connected pyramids (very old)

Earring, consisting of two connected pyramids.

Very Rare single earring, consisting of two connected pyramids with tiny bells below. Only 3 cm height. Very fine silver work and probably very old. Great three dimensional design.

 

 

 

 

 

Arab names: Single earring, consisting of two connected pyramids.

Period: 1800-1900

Origin: Oman or Yemen

References: No References

Single Omani ear-ring of simple form

Simple Omani Earring

Common Omani silver ear-ring has a bi-conoid shape. Typically hangs form a leather thong looped around the ear. These simple ear-rings are worn by daughters of wealthier parents or by poor  adult women 

Antique Omani silver earring

Arab name: Shaghabiyat ear-ring

Period: 1900-1970

Origin: Oman

References:
  1. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 page
  2. Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster p 55 fig 43

Antique Omani silver Halka earring (simple loop)

Halka earring (simple loop)

 

Common Omani silver Halka Earring.

 

 

 

 

Arab name: Halka

Period: 1850-1950

Origin: Oman

References:
  1. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 page 71