Originally, Bedouin and traditional jewelry did not carry hallmarks; the region’s jewelry tradition predates their use, as well as modern state boundaries. As each piece of jewelry was individually ordered from a silversmith, the amount of silver to be used was carefully discussed, weighed and paid for. To establish the correct amount of silver, the material was balanced against a known amount of silver, for example a set of coins such as the Maria Theresia Thaler.
At around the beginning of the twentieth century, most countries adopted an official hallmarking system. For a very long time, existing pieces of jewelry were marked only when they were sold; their exact value only needed to be established at the moment of sale. To illustrate its value, an item of jewelry usually displayed its silver stamp on the outside, where it would be most visible.
In this Lybian head ornament, the signature of the smith is part of the overall decoration
Three bracelets from Palestine, signed by their makers
On this Rashayda bracelet, the individual parts are also marked with a hallmark
Silversmith in Nizwa, Oman. The value of silver items is still calculated by its weight and the signature of the smith