Omani antique necklace consisting of silver, red and very old glass black/purple nursing beads

Omani SHAKKA necklace
  • Description

Common necklace made up of two types silver beads (barrel shaped), red glass or coral beads, and a dark coloured bead made of stone or more likely glass.  The dark beads are becoming scarce. These dark beads are very old and worn, they have originally been blue or purple a long time ago....(you can determine that from the broken ones). In early publications on Oman there is mention of blue beads, these may be the (discoloured)  blue beads they were talking of. In some reference works this dark bead is referred to as Shakka and in fact the entire necklace is named after the dark bead.

In Oman Adorned ref 1 " The dark  bead is named kharza merabbiya (the nursing bead) This stone bead was usually given to babies strung on a piece of chain to wear around the neck as a protective amulet. Only once a child had survived the very first few dangerous years of life the bead was transferred to the Shakka necklace"

This particular Shakka necklace  has six dark stone beads that are very worn (three of which are damaged) , the meaning of this number of black beads is unclear.The shakka is worn by girls until they reach adolescence. There are 24 silver beads. Total weight approx 350 grams assume 200 gr silver. Length 90 cm

Antique Omani silver necklace

Antique Omani Shakka necklace

 

Antique Omani silver necklace

Antique Omani nursing bead

 

Omani Nursing bead

 A broken antique Omani Nursing Bead (kharza merabbiya)

On the outside they look very worn and black, the inside has dark blueish or purple colour. These original antique glass beads have become very rare 

Arab names: Shakka  Alta

Period: 1850-1950

Condition: Oman Rustaq

References:
  1. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 page 169, p 81  middle  and bottom
  2. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 46
  3. Catalog of the Oman exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam 2009 page 136 (chain used in combination with a Koran-box, but without the kharza beads)