Old is Gold
‘Hamama.’ Varying accounts of travelers assign this head ornament to the Najd and the northern regions of the Arabian Peninsula. The wearer’s hair was threaded through the piece to firmly anchor the piece on top of the head. The row of coins created a fringe over the forehead framing the face with a similar row at the back falling gracefully over the back of the head. Pearls are used to outline the colored stones and the central cartouche design. The art piece courtesy of The Art of Heritage.
HRH princess Nourah bint Abdulla Al Faisal, Nuun Jewels.
Two royal items: A malachite, gold and diamond brooch gifted to Princess Ceeta Al-Dammer, wife of the late King Khalid; and a diamond ring belonging to one of King Abdulaziz’s daughters. Courtesy of The Art of Heritage.
For decades the Art of Heritage cultural trust has been dedicated to preserving and sharing the material culture and heritage of the Kingdom. The trust has been focused on uncovering the largely unknown stories of our forefathers and their remarkable struggles, with a mission to always bring the link from our past to future generations.
Our jewelry collection does not only represent the wealth of past civilizations, but it brings to light their remarkable decorative art tradition. The skills of craftsmen, the lives of those who wore these objects and how they maintained our culture traditions throughout the years.
Gold is believed by ancient Egyptians to be the ‘flesh of gods’ as it didn’t wither away. The depictions of Zeus and Artemis and other motifs in the artifacts in the Thaj burial indicate that this particular burial dates to the Hellenistic period in Arabia about 2,000 years ago. Around this time, Arabia was part of the trade routes of the Mediterranean world, where incense from South Arabia was traded along these routes and passed through Thaj. It is believed that through this lucrative trade, this particular family had enough wealth to be able to afford such luxurious objects to be buried with their beloved little one. Gold until today, is the gift of loved ones to each other, and one that lasts beyond one’s lifetime.
When I asked her about her passion for jewelry design and how our traditional jewelry inspired her, she said, “The geometric forms and the structure used in traditional Saudi jewelry has always been my first source of inspiration. They remain, to my eye, the most unique and charming pieces, both ancient and supremely modern in concept.”
Our traditional jewelry was not only a matter of influence for designers (national or international), but also for women in general in the Kingdom, who take great pride in and have a strong emotional connection with our golden heritage.