Leather and rope

Leather headband with silver rings

Leather is also used in jewelry making, often to carry pieces of silver or beads. In the Maghreb, leather straps decorated with silver rings are worn as necklaces, and on the Arab Peninsula, silver amulets are mounted onto leather to keep them firmly in place on belts or other accessories.

Another method of attaching or linking silver elements is to use rope, cord or thread. In Saudi-Arabia and Yemen especially, thread is used to string silver beads into a a flexible mesh for headbands and bracelets. Headbands were also reinforced with a leather or cotton backing, which also made them more comfortable to wear. Originally, wool or cotton thread was used for necklaces, but the weight of the silver and the occasional sharp edge of a bead or pendant caused wear on the threads until they finally gave way and broke: many necklaces had to be restrung several times.

Finding a necklace on its original thread is increasingly rare for another reason: the threads that do survive are torn and broken from the many hands rummaging in the baskets and chests full of discarded silver. As collecting jewelry is becoming more popular, many visitors like to work their way through heaps of silver in the hope of finding something unique.