Omani antique silver ring
Omani antique silver ring
SILVER RINGS

Different styles of Omani rings (in Arabic kwawatim) are designed for:

  • Thumb

  • Each finger and each with a different meaning.

  • The big toe

  • The Nose

  • Zar ceremony (we listed these rings under the Amulet section)

The rings are worn in pairs on both hands. It was not uncommon to wear 5 different style rings on each hand. The old rings are very fine and well made with inlays and filigree work. Rings were frequently reused and made to fit by winding thread around the ring until the ring fitted, again confirming that silver was not always melted down and reused to produce new jewellery at marriage. Wellsted in his detailed description of 1838 writes on page 352: "A singular custom also prevails of staining the entire person with Henna. Shenna, a moss collected  from the granite mountains in the Island of Socotra, is also used for a similar purpose" On the photo´s we still see traces of Henna on several of the rings! 

Omani antique silver ring

Omani silver thumb ring

the surface covered with fine silver filigree inlays

Three antique Omani silver "Big toe rings" very old pieces

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Antique Omani silver toe rings

Very rare antique rings for the big toe in Oman! Note the rings are cut (open) at the back and used to have bells connected to them! So you could hear a lady approaching. The rings are cut open so they could be adjusted to any size of toe. Toe-rings were not commonly worn by the Bedouin of Oman. They were only worn as a single toe-ring (called karat) on the big toe and even then they were often not made of silver. In Dhofar ladies had toe-rings with bells, however the shape of the rings was very different from the three rings in our collection (see Oman   Adorned)

Omani antique big toe ring Omani antique silver ring

Omani antique silver ring

 Omani antique big toe rings

Arab name: Heysa / Karat

Period: 1850-1900

Origin: Oman town people. Purchased in Nizwa

 References:
  1. J.L. Carter Tribes in Oman Peninsular publishing 1982 page 27 Toe-ring in the picture third from the left in the top row.
  2. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 122-123 shows very simple toe rings page, p 187 ; p 288 to 291 discusses toe-rings from Dhofar

Eleven antique Omani silver "Thumb rings"

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Antique Omani silver Thumb-ring called Jabriyah

 

Common thumb-ring which is called the Jabirah / Jabriya. It is a wide band of silver with a silver line  superimposed from top to bottom.  In the slide-show you find a number of different thumb-rings in our collection.  Often with fine silver inlays and detailed designs! The enlarged photos confirm the high quality Omani silversmith work.

 

Omani antique silver ring

Omani antique silver ring Omani antique silver ring

Omani antique silver ringOmani antique silver ring

Antique Omani silver ringAntique Omani silver ring

antique Omani silver ringAntique Omani silver ring

Arab names: Gabira (used in Oman Adorned) / Jabriyah / Jabirah / Jabiyrah (according to Carter this is the name given in towns)

Period:1900-1970

Origin: Worn by women throughout Oman.

References:
  • Craft and heritage of Oman vol 2 p 446/447
  • Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 page 112-115
  • R. Richmond: A tribute to Oman 18th National day Ring cycle master pieces of traditional jewelery page 149-153
  • J.L. Carter Tribes in Oman Peninsular publishing 1982 page 27
  • A tribute to Oman National day Volume X "Muscat and its custom houses" Robert Richmond. Apex page 80
  • Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster p 86 fig 82 ; Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 111
  • Islamic Art in Oman page 355
  • PDO News No 4/1992 p 27
  • Exhibition catalogue De Kracht van Zilver, etnische sieraden uit de collectie Smith-Hutschenruyter, Mols. L. e.a., Mercatorfonds Brussel & Wereldmuseum Rotterdam, 2011, p. 108, afb. 16
  • Wereld Museum Rotterdam has some similar Omani rings. Ex collection Smith / Hutschenruyter. e.g. Inventory 77205

Eleven examples of antique Omani silver rings for the First Finger (next to the thumb)

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Antique Omani silver Shadid ring

Common ring. The "al shadad" is the term for the forefinger in Arabic and is so called  because a Muslim points this finger alone when uttering the shahadah the Islamic doctrinal formula. Some of the rings have chased decoration with gold-wash or with  granulation. The eleven Shadid  rings shown in the slide-show have two basic shapes:

a) Circle surmounted  by a lozenge-shape

b) Teardrop design

These rings are often finely engraved with flowers and or leaf designs.

Antique Omani  Silver ringOmani antique silver ring

Antique Omani ringAntique Omani silver ring s

Omani antique silver ring Antique Omani silver ring 

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 Antique Omani rings

 

Al Hazm Fort Decoration

Ancient decoration Oman Al Hazm Fort, inside the cannon tower

Arab names: Shadid / Shahid / Shawahid  ( meaning Witness )

Period: 1900-1970

Origin: Worn throughout Oman,but most common in Northern Oman and Dhofar.

References:
  • Craft heritage of Oman Vol 2 p 445 item 062
  • Tribute to Oman 18th National day "Ring Cycle Masterpieces of traditional jewellery" by  R. Richmond  p 149-153
  • Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 112-115
  • A tribute to Oman National day Volume X "Muscat and its custom houses" Robert Richmond. Apex page 80
  • Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster p 84 fig 79 
  • Silver the traditional Art of Oman 2000 (new edition)
  • Ruth Hawley p 36 ; Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 112
  • Islamic Art in Oman page 355
  • Oman Faces and Places page 136
  • Catalog of the Oman exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam 2009 page 16,  132  (poor example)

Twelve examples of antique Omani silver rings for the Second finger (middle finger)

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Antique Omani Dayir silver ring

Common rings. According to Carter´s (Tribes of Oman) definition there are two types for the second finger:  Hexagonal and Round.  In "Oman Adorned" the hexagonal rings belong to the third finger (next to the little finger) In "Oman Adorned"  diamond shaped rings belong to the middle finger, while Carter lumps them under "finger three" (next to the little finger) A diamond shaped ring is defined as  a square ring that has been turned a quarter (angle 45 degree) Following the definition of Oman Adorned we have twelve examples of rings for the second finger in our Slide-show. 

Antique Omani Ring Omani antique silver ring

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 Antique Omani Rings for the second finger

Arab names: Dayir (round)   /  Heysa (mostly diamond shaped) / Haisa

Period: 1900-1970

Origin: Typically worn by women of central and Northern Oman

References:
  •  Tribute to Oman 18th National day R. Richmond p 150
  • Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 112-115
  • Richardson & Dorr The craft and Heritage of Oman vol 2 page 446 item 067
  • A tribute to Oman National day Volume X "Muscat and its custom houses" Robert Richmond. Apex page 80
  • Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster p 85 fig 81
  • Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 112
  • Oman Faces and Places page 136

Ten examples of Omani silver Rings for the Third Finger (next to the little finger)

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Khatim Murabba antique Omani silver Ring for the third finger

Common rings. These rings are square often with checker board  design s typically worn on the third finger but sometimes also on the fourth finger.  The checkerboard design is a remainder of the magic quadrant found on jewelry all over the middle east used by the Arabs but also by the Jews (Kaballah). These magic quadrants and books to make the the quadrants and decipher them  are particular common in the Yemen. See also antique books section. The slide-show contains ten examples of this type of ring,  including a rare "tree-of-life" ring and an "octagonal" ring with 8 sides.

Omani Antique RingOmani antique silver ring

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Omani antique silver ringOmani antique silver ring

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Omani antique Rings for the third finger 

Arab names: Haisah / Haisa diamond shaped / Khatim (abu sath) Murabbah / Kanabir   (square shaped)  For the name Kanabir see Carter.

Period: 1900-1970

Origin: The square rings are worn by women of central and northern Oman.

References:
  • Craft heritage of Oman p 165 and 445/446.
  • Tribute to Oman 18th National day R. Richmond p 150
  • Oman Adorned Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 112-115
  • J.L. Carter Tribes in Oman Peninsular publishing 1982 page 27
  • A tribute to Oman National day Volume X "Muscat and its custom houses" Robert Richmond. Apex page 80
  • Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster p 85 fig 81
  • Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 113
  • Arab & Islamic Silver by Saad Al-Jadir 1981   Stacey International  p 121 above
  • Islamic Art in Oman page 355
  • Oman Faces and Places page 136

Eight antique Omani silver rings for the Fourth Finger (little finger), also worn by men

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Shadabiyyah Pyramid shaped silver Omani ring fourth finger

Common rings. The Shadabiyyah rings often have granulated  decoration.  The silver finger rings (Khatim) with inset Lapis, turquoise and coral are worn by women and men(!) in Northern Oman. The slide-show contains 8 examples of rings for the little finger. The often contain fine inlays of silver-work. In the interior , women also sometimes wore, rings with small colored beads which were often attached to the ring by a silver pin through the center.

Omani antique silver ringOmani antique silver ringAntique Omani Ring Omani antique silver ringOmani antique silver ringOmani antique silver ring

Antique Omani silver ringAntique Omani silver ring
 Antique Omani Rings for the little finger.

Arab name: Shadabiyyah (pyramid) / Khatim (with stone inset)

Period: 1900-197

Origin: Oman Worn by women of central and northern Oman on the fourth finger of the right and left hand. The rings with the colored beads are from the interior.

References:  
  • Craft heritage of Oman p 165 and 445/446
  • Tribute to Oman 18th National day R. Richmond p 150
  • Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 113-115
  • A tribute to Oman National day Volume X "Muscat and its custom houses" Robert Richmond. Apex page 80
  • Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 114
  • Oman Faces and Places page 136

Antique Omani silver ring (Khatim bu fas) set with red glass and worn by man and women

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Khatim bu fas Antique Omani silver ring warn by men and women

 

Common rings. The silver Khatim ring is set with red glass and some with amuletic inscriptions or the crescent moon. Rings with coloured stones were occasionally worn by women but more often by men. The colour turquoise was especially favoured. The slide-show contains two examples of this type of ring.

 

 

 Omani antique silver ringOmani antique silver ring

Omani Rings

Arab names: Khatim bu Fas ring  / Bu Fus

Period: 1900-1970

Origin: Worn by man and women in central and Northern Oman.  Influence on design silver-work  from Gujarat?

References:
  • Craft heritage of Oman p 165 and 445/446
  • Tribute to Oman 18th National day R. Richmond p 150
  • Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 112-115
  • A tribute to Oman National day Volume X "Muscat and its custom houses" Robert Richmond. Apex page 80
  • Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster p 87 fig 83
  • Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 114
  • Islamic Art of Oman page 355
  • Oman Faces and Places page 136

Antique Omani silver Nose-ring (old piece)

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Antique Omani silver nosering

 

Very rare Omani silver Nose-ring. The design suggests Dhofari origin. At puberty a girl´s nose was perforated for the nose-ring she would wear once she was a married women. Diameter  6 cm. Weight 7 grams.

 

 

Antique Omani silver nosering

 

 

Arab name: Halka (ring or circle)

Period: 1900-1960

Origin: Oman Dhofar

  1. References:Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 70 bottom, 246

Omani gilded silver Nose-ring

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Omani silver Nose-ring

 

Common Omani gilded silver Nose-ring. With fake coral bead. At puberty a girl´s nose was perforated for the nose-ring she would wear once she was a married women. Diameter 3 cm Weight 2 grams. 

 

Antique Omani silver nosering

 
 

Arab name: Khashafa / Khasama

Period: 1950-1970

Origin: Oman Dhofar

References:
  1. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 70 bottom, 246;
  2. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p43  photo 3.13
  3. British Museum  similar nose-ring in the on-line collection number 2012, 6010.175 from southern Oman Diameter 3.2 cm  4 grams. D-shaped nose-ring (khashafa or khazama) made of silver and ornamented on the straight edge of the "D" with a coral-coloured glass bead set between two tubular silver beads. The tubular beads are dome-shaped on one end and decorated with beaded wire.

Golden Nose-ring from Sur

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Omani golden Nosering from Sur

Scarce Omani golden Nose-ring with large Turquoise stone and very fine filigree work. At puberty a girl´s nose was perforated for the nose-ring she would wear once she was a married women. In the book Oman & its Renaissance by Sir Donald Hawley you can see on page 99 bottom a lady from Sur wearing an identical nose-ring.

 

Arab name: Khashafa / Khasama

Period: 1950-1970

Origin: Oman Sur

Antique Omani golden  nosering

References:
  1. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 70 bottom, 246
  2. Oman and its Renaissance  by Sir Donald Hawley Stacey International London 1987 page 99 photo bottom shows an old woman wearing a similar nose-ring.

Antique Omani leather storage bag / box / basket for storing small jewelry, made of leather and woven palm leaves. Typically used for storing silver rings.

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Antique Omani jewelry leather box for storing jewelry made of leather

 

Small antique Omani leather storage bag / basket for storing jewellery (e.g. rings) Made of goat-leather and inside finely woven with desert-palm fibre and with brass hinges.  These small boxes are very rare (made for town  people (Hadr)? )  The very large ones are common and used by Bedu. Size 13,5 by 22 cm.

 Antique Omani leather Box

Antique Omani leather box

Antique Omani leather box

Arab name: Daraj (mini size)

Period:1850-1900

Origin: Oman interior. Hadr  / Bedouin. Purchased in Nizwa.

References:
  1. Richardson & Dorr The Craft heritage of Oman Volume 2 p 376-387 
  2. Silver jewellery of Oman by Jehan S Rajab 1997 p 34
  3. Oman Faces and Places page 148
  4. The Heritage of Oman by Peter Vine Immel Publishing 1995 photo of similar bag on page 110.