Africa Direct
Africa Direct

6 Yemeni Silver Hollow Beads Hallmarked Loose COOPER COLLECTION

AvailabilityIn stock
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Other Names Thousand eye, tabular, skunk, more
Type of Object unknown silver content
Made In Yemen
Traded In Africa
Approximate Age 20th Century
Overall Condition Good. Some of our beads have traveled at least three continents, and have graced numerous owners. Small chips, corrosion, and pitting are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.
Damage/Repair Tarnish, wear, small dents.
Bead Size 17-29 by mm diameter, 43-46 mm p-p. See picture with penny for size comparison (US penny is 19 mm diameter).
Strand Length 30 inches (includes string/raffia)
Brand Unbranded
Style Beaded
Type Loose Beads

39-41 Provenance: These beads were in the colklection of Austin Cooper. Austin amassed an extraordinary bead collection over more than 20- years. HIs pieces included ancients, trade beads from Vanice and other parts of Europe, Asian beads inclkuding Jatim, beads made in Africa inclkuding Kiffa, Bodom and Akosu, Faience beads and amulets from Egypt, and more. Austin was a friend and customer of Africa Direct. We are very proud to be able to present his collection to you.

Additional information: Yemeni silversmiths were Jewish, and their work influenced jewelry in much of the Arab and North African regions. The exquisite skill of these silversmiths can be seen in hollow silver globe beads like the ones on this necklace. By metal-blending and then working the thin sheets by hand, the silversmiths achieved an almost perfect uniformity of texture, color and appearance in their beads. Their globe beads come in several designs, the most common of which are the raised "barley" motif and the "star-shot" applied motif.Many of the beads also have a "hallmark piece" which identifies the maker.

Antique silver globe beads are becoming more and more difficult to find, and are gradually being replaced by contemporary reproductions. Collectors wishing to determine the age of their beads must look carefully at their color, weight, and surface appearance, using a magnifying glass to determine the differences. The day is coming when all of these beads will be reproductions.

The "silver" in Yemeni beads is a composite of melted silver and other metals. Silver content is measured against the Maria Theresa thaler, a silver coin minted during the reign of Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia in the 18th century. This coin, at 75-85% silver, is considered the highest standard for silver content. The silver high for Yemeni beads is typically 45-50%.

For more information on Yemeni jewelry, please see Silver Speaks by Joyce Diamanti with Robert Liu, published in 2002.