Thursday, August 25, 2011

One Silver String at a Time

It's no secret that Traditional Middle Eastern dress was a huge influence on the fashion world. From Turbans, sharwals, harmen pants, to bright gold accent jewelry... It started about 2 years ago and people have not yet let go.

Ralph Lauren Spring 2009

Givenchy Couture 2009 

Who can forget Sex and the City 2, when the girls traveled to Abu Dhabi and stylist Patricia Field made sure we all new they were in the Middle East. 

I've always had a love for ethnic and oversized jewelry, my favorite being African and Indian inspired pieces. Right now I'm obsessing over Yemenite jewelry especially since living in Israel, you can find the most original, authentic handmade pieces mainly in overpriced flea markets or ridiculously cheap shuk's. One night I was walking through the stoned alleyways in Old Yaffo and came across Ben-Zion David's Yemenite Art Jewelry store. The store was already closed, but noticing my enthusiasm peering through the glass windows of the store, the woman inside let me in. Falling in love with almost every single piece that I saw, I was already planning my next visit and my next blog post. 

I appreciate true craftsmanship. It's not something that you see these days and the detail of the work in unlike any other man made piece. On top of that, creating something modern yet still staying true to authentic techniques and styles is something in and of itself. Ben-Zion is an eighth generation silversmith keeping alive a tradition and culture that is slowing fading away. In 1948, when the State of Israel was established about 50,000 Yemenite Jews immigrated to Israel. Most were extremely poor but had superior artistic sills in creating jewelry. Ben-Zion is keeping his culture and their unique gift alive everyday in this tiny little glass shop, and cave of wonder.

The Gallery

The Workshop

 Up Close 

A very traditional Yemenite necklace that opens on the sides to insert a scroll. 

Roman Glass

These candlesticks were given to Queen Elizabeth as a gift from Israeli President Shimon Peres

Antique Yemenite Jewelry

Change of scenery, this is in the shuk outside Old Yaffo where you find authentic pieces if you dig with determination, patience and perseverance. 

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