Beauty and Piety: A Brief History of Gold Islamic Jewelry
It could be said that jewelry is one of the markers of a distinct culture. Throughout recorded history, people in all times and places have worn jewelry, be it in the form of simple adornments made of threaded beads or elaborate works of metal and gems.
And the form that these personal decorations take can tell us much about the culture that produced them.
Gold Islamic jewelry is an interesting case. Islamic art, in general, is required to adhere to a strict set of rules to be deemed permissible. And jewelry is no exception.
To better understand this art form, let’s take a look at its history and the cultural cachet that comes with it.
The Origins of Islamic Religious Jewelry
Islam is almost as old as it is pervasive. Its foundation is usually dated back to the 7th century and claims nearly two billion adherents worldwide. So while Islamic jewelry can trace its traditions back to a specific place and point in time, it has been influenced by the many cultures that have adopted the faith over the last 1,400 years.
But while this cultural exchange has introduced embellishments from local cultures over time, there are certain facets that have remained unchanged.
For one, the Quran contains a set of rules on personal adornment. Men, for example, are largely prohibited from wearing jewelry, save for a single silver ring and a necklace in some situations.
So why, then, are so many examples of Islamic jewelry made of gold? Well, there is an explanation for that.
Rules Regarding Gold Islamic Jewelry
As we stated, men are precluded from wearing most jewelry. And in particular, they are disallowed from wearing yellow gold at all, even gold alloys or gold plated with other materials.
Women, however, have no such restrictions. Rings, bracelets and suchlike are all usually permissible as long as they don’t become overly lavish.
A particularly popular form of jewelry are amulets described with passages from the Quran. An example is this necklace, inscribed with the names of four chapters from the Quran.
Not only do these pieces serve as a signifier of the wearer’s piety, but some believe that they can convey protection against ill elements on the wearer.
Due to their holy nature, however, these pieces are subject to their own set of rules, like needing to be either removed or hidden when doing certain activities.
Islamic Jewelry in Modernity
Islamic jewelry traditions have persisted largely unchanged for centuries. And that being the case, gold Islamic jewelry remains the dominant variety as it is the preferred material for women’s jewelry.
But while the rules regarding its use are more stringent than many cultures, there is one function that Islamic jewelry holds in common with contemporary styles. That being as a form of communication.
Jewelry is often a signifier of wealth, status, or community identity. In this case, it most often serves as a signifier of faith and character.
But the most substantial piece of jewelry does not make an outfit on its own. For more fascinating fashion insights, be sure to keep up with all of our latest lifestyle articles.