Thursday, March 12, 2015

Antique Turkmen Bracelets, Silver with Carnelian

These are my antique Turkmen bracelets, silver with gold plate (almost gone now) and carnelian stones, and I also promised to my friends that there will be a story about them. If I start writing a large blog post, it will take me hours, so I will try to write here and make it short.

...So, when I was about 23 years old, I came to Bukhara for three says, to do some sightseeing. It was a lovely time in April, I enjoyed roaming the city, breathing the spring air and looking at all the bright and beautiful items offered for sale, without actually wanting anything... and then I saw these bracelets. And I realised that I had to have them.

(this is me sitting at the back door of the Kalyan Mosque, and me trying on a massive 4-raw Turkmen bracelet)

Unfortunately the seller, a beautiful Tajik lady, asked 120$ for them, which was a lot of money for me. So I kept coming to her shop about three times per day, to chat with her and to nag about the discount for the bracelets. The shop was in the Jeweller's Dome and it was very convenient for me to visit it several times per day, because this place is in the middle of the Old City, and I was hanging out in the Old City, anyway. Finally on the third day of my nagging she just had to give up and sell them to me for 80$.

At the same time, she told me a story about Turkmen silver. She said: "In the nomadic Teke tribe in Turkmenistan, each married woman still wears 10-15 kg (22-33 lbs) of silver jewelry day and night. The reason is, whenever her husband says to her: "Talak! I do not need you anymore, go!" - she must go away as she was, without taking anything else with her, besides what she was wearing at that time. Then she will be living off her jewelry".

It was almost 15 years ago but I still remember her fine features, black eyes and the soft voice telling me this story as if all that was the most natural thing to do. On the other hand, I guess for the Teke tribe it was indeed the most natural thing, so there were no reasons to be shocked or surprised.

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