Omani silver Digg necklace. Necklace with real (old) coral beads and three tier hirz for the back

Three tier Hirz plus necklace
  • Description

The common three tier Hirz is worn on the Bedouin ladies back. The common Digg necklace is worn on the front. The necklace includes two small Koran-boxes on the side and two large genuine coral beads. Digg necklaces with beads made of real coral have become rare. The central bead is probably made of wax and covered with gold leaf. The coral beads may originate from East Africa but may also have been bought in Mecca during the Haj where they were sold as souvenirs. The upper half of the digg necklace consists of multiple strands of small silver beads which are twisted together in bunches and hooked to each end of the silver rod through a large silver hoop.

Antique Omani silver necklace

Arab Names: Digg  / Duqq (neckalce) / Hirz qafa (three tiered hirz) / Hirz dafar

Period: 1850-1950

Origin: Bedouin of central Oman

This necklace was only worn by Bedouin women in central Oman. In more modern examples of this necklace the coral beads have been replaced by pink ceramic beads.

References:
  1. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 98-99 middle & bottom
  2. Richardson & Dorr The craft and Heritage of Oman vol 2 page 443 item 051 (Duqq) and page 441 item 036 (hirz qafa)
  3. Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster p 41
  4. Silver jewellery of Oman by Jehan S Rajab 1997 p18 , p19, p48; ; Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 78 / 79
  5. Ethnic Jewellery from Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands The RenĂ© van der Star Collection  2002 Amsterdam Pepin Press p 62
  6. (Hirz) British Museum on-line collection number 2009.6023.171
  7. (Digg) British Museum on-line collection number 2009.6023.212
  8. Catalogue of the Oman exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam 2009 page 139
  9. PDO News No 4/1992 Oman silver Jewelry by Rebecca Brickson page 37
  10. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman by Jean Greffioz 2009 (privately published) page 25 fig 2.12 and page 79 has photo with a similar necklace. 
  11. Wereld Museum Rotterdam has a similar necklace. l 87 x br 5 x d 3 cm. Inventory 75257. That necklace was published in the exhibition catalogue De Kracht van Zilver, etnische sieraden uit de collectie Smith-Hutschenruyter, Mols. L. e.a., Mercatorfonds Brussel & Wereldmuseum Rotterdam, 2011, p. 112, afb. 20
  12. British Museum has similar Hirz 2009,6023.171; Length: 33 centimetres; Height: 5 centimetres (Qur'an case) Width: 9 centimetres (Qur'an case) Weight: 213 grammesThree-tiered silver head-dress ornament (called hamhoon or hirz qafa, lit. 'hirz for the back') The top tier is triangular in shape, followed by a rectangular second tier that is suspended from five sets of chains (one set is missing) The bottom tier suspended from six sets of chains is a large rectangular Qur'an case (hirz) which is further embellished by 17 danglers made of plain square pendants hanging from short chains. The tiers are decorated with delicately stamped gold leaf strips with floral and leaf patterns and framed by silver dots. The Qur'an case is sealed shut. This ornament was worn attached to a headdress, or attached with wool to a woman's hair plaits, from the back of the head or suspended from a necklace (marriyah) to fall down a woman's back. These types of head ornaments were used on special occasions and often formed part of a bride's wedding jewellery. They are usually associated with the women of the Sharqiyah region from Sur.