Colours often work by association. In jewelry, colours that have some symbolic meaning are often selected for amulets.The two most powerful colours are probably red and blue, and they both dominate the jewelry of the Middle East. Red is most common; related to both blood and to the heart, it can be interpreted as representing passion and love as well as danger and evil. Blue, the colour of sky and water, features strongly in the Berber enamelling of Algeria as well as in the jewelry of Saudi-Arabia and Yemen, where turquoise is used prominently in rings and pendants; in Syria, Jordan and Palestine blue beads are used as inlays in silver jewelry.
White is used often in relation to birth and motherhood. As the colour of semen and milk, it is closely connected to new life, enables breastfeeding and protects young mothers and their children. Usually, the power of the colour is enhanced by the material chosen for a certain jewelry piece. However, sometimes the colour itself is the main concern. This leads to items of precious materials such as coral and cornaline, in which glass and even plastic beads of red have been added. In this case, the only defining element is the colour.
Click on the examples below to see them enlarged with their explanation.
Red glass beads on a silver choker from Yemen
Blue beads of Murano-glass adorn silver ear hoops from Morocco
Red glas beads enhance the function of this Maria Theresia Thaler, worn as amulet. Yemen.
Blue, green and yellow enameling decorates this heavy Kabyle bracelet from Algeria, graced with red coral stones.