Monday, May 30, 2011

Gold in the Gulf---a wedding tradition

In all of the GCC: Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain, owning major gold is the norm. As a kid on Oman, my little sis and I experienced trying on 3 lb gold diadems, and loading our arms up with bracelets [of which, we never bought]. But upon marriage an Omani girl (indeed, a Gulf girl, is expected to ask for some serrious gold, and we're not talking the white gold kind, but heavy traditional necklaces, and headpieces). When I got married here, I didn't ask for any gold which makes people ask, don't you like gold? Well, I mean, I have nothing against it but it is serriously expensive and doesn't make a marriage more successful or anything, so I just thought it a bit much to ask of a man who isn't super rich. In my home country unless you are super rich you don' t buy major jewelry. I don't wear it alot. I prefer jewelry I can wear out everyday. And that I can lose or have stolen without some major tears being shed. [I lose jewelry alot]. So recently one of my brother in laws insisted that I get some gold with a belated wedding gift. It will be something totally new for me. I like Omani silver more because I feel it is more traditional to Oman anyway. Traditional Saudi gold.Since gold in the Gulf is used like savings bonds, the idea is a woman can use it as financial backup if anything bad ever happens to her husband or her marriage. So you'll find emphasis is on weight and consistancy (not white gold here, heavy yellow gold is what is in demand). And why not have it worked into elaborate show peices like headresses, necklances, wide bracelets, rings, earrings, and even face veils? Much more interesting in wedding photos than a gold brick I guess, and comes from the tradition of women carrying their family wealth on their bodies in the days before banks. An example of typical wedding gifts for a bride (pictured above). Examples of Emirati gold (I'm a fan of the headpiece and necklace, I have costume equivelents).

Yemeni kids;) Kuwaiti gold.

Omani Gold. Omani gold is based on traditional silver designs. Most Omani gold is still purchased in the gold souq at Mutrah Souq.
I still can't picture myself wearing alot of real gold. But I think the pictures of the kids wearing it are so cute mashaAllah.


Umm Aaminah said...

I would love to have some of that heavy, beautiful gold.

Never liked it before I was Muslim but now I do. lol

naush said...

Mashallah, your model in the last 4pictures is very beautiful. I would still be vary of the heaps of zakat we would have to pay for that piles of Jewellry !
A muslim sister from Dubai.

Aliyah said...

amazing idea to talk about this opno. i totaly agree with u it looks nice on kids, in pictures, but i would not wear it either. i dont even like to wear gold earings and all this. and i believe in the concept what is too much is not stylish anymore. of course for the women over there this si their tradition and culture, but lucky our husbands they dont need to spend so much in something we dont wear alhamdulillah :) i love seeing it on other women but not on me. i also prefer silver.

♥ααℓiα♥ said...

Ummmm, I guess I am still a Westerner when it comes to gold jewelery :-P I told M. to get me a *fake* diamond wedding/engagement ring set for me (I am so paranoid where the diamonds come from; CONFLICT ZONES??!) and that's it. I've never been a huge fan of gold but the simple bangles are cute and I could wear a couple... Maybe...

Anonymous said...

I´m sorry for my ignorance , I´ve been living in the Gulf for more than one year and is not Islam about modesty ? What about all the make up, jewelry, luxury goods women wear and huge display of richness? I still don´t get it.

I hope this blog is not inquisitive and you block my comment. I´d like to know, I´m very curious about your answer.

Thank you.

samiam said...

dear anonymous,
ur question is very valid. I,as a Muslim, has asked the same question n all it comes down to is that people are muslims in name but not in their hearts.the world would be so wonderful if people actually practice what they preach!