Saturday, 31 October 2009

Jewellery in Jordan

On a recent trip to Jordan, I decided to us the opportunity to buy a bit of new jewellery. Whenever you go abroad, it's worth having a quick look at the jewellery as in many countries it can be considerably cheaper and different to the jewellery on offer in your hometown.

If you are in Jordan visiting Petra then you will probably have quite a few opportunities to buy jewelry from the local Bedouins. This is worth doing as some of their jewelry is beautiful and unlike what you can perhaps get at home. The jewelry on offer in Petra tends to be made of rocks and glass. Agate is commonly used as well as moonstone and coloured glass. It is likely that the rocks are imported but even so, the jewellery is handmade. I took the opportunity to buy a blue beaded bracelet and a multi-coloured glass necklace from a lovely man just near Shobak castle (not in Petra but on the route to Petra from Amman). It cost me only 5JD (approx 5 euros) for both items. The price was lower than what you would probably pay in Petra itself. No matter if the price they first offer you is something that you are happy with, it is still good to bargain at least 10% off the price. The reason for this is that I genuinely have found that Middle Eastern people respect you more if you don't take the first price and it tends to give you an opportunity to have a chat. Obviously, for some items you will need to really haggle over and I will be writing a post later about how to haggle.

During my trek around the Petra site, I saw a wide range of jewellery ranging from basic beaded necklaces to more ornate cuff bracelets. The beaded jewellery does tend to be quite basic but it's always useful to have and you will be giving your money to people who will appreciate it which is better than buying a string of beads from the high street. The silver cuffs are beautiful and although I did not buy one, I am pretty sure that I could have bought one for about 10JD.

When I returned to the capital city of Jordan, Amman, I really got my jewellery shopping on. King Faisal street contains all the main jewelry stores and is labelled on maps as the location of jewellery market. When buying more expensive jewellery, I definitely recommend doing as much browsing as you can - do not buy from the first shop you go into!

First, I had a good look at all the jewelry on offer and tried to get an idea of the level of quality on offer and the price ranges available. Most of the jewellery in Amman tended to be yellow gold - very yellow gold is not popular in most western european countries because it is not overly flattering to pale skin. However, the very yellow colour shows that is high quality gold and if you can carry it off, it is definitely worth buying. It's vibrant and much cooler than the pale, insipid gold that is normally available. Personally, if I could wear it without looking jaundiced, I would have got lots of it as it was reasonably priced and exotic.

Instead I opted to get a woven bracelet with strands of rose gold, silver and yellow gold. Generally rose gold is flattering to most skin types and is also unusual. After a bit of a chitchat we managed to reach a price we all liked and I walked away with a gem at a good price. The quality could have been better but at the price offered, it was still a bargain and it will definitely bring back memories of Arabia when I wear it.

I then decided to invest in a bit of silver for everyday wear. Silver is not so popular here which makes perfect sense as silver is too bland for the gorgeous brown skin of the locals. Quite a few shops did try to trick me into buying very poor quality jewellery at rather inflated prices. When you are not sure about an item, just say that you want to browse a bit more and compare the product to similar ones in other shops. You won't regret taking your time as there is nothing worse than taking a piece home and finding out it's badly glued and damaged.

I settled on two delicate silver bracelets which, after some intense haggling, I got at a great price. I also picked up two gorgeous pairs of earrings which were of a very good quality and a good price.

Scurrying home with my swag, I felt very happy with my purchases and so will you if you take the time to buy jewellery abroad.

1 comment:

  1. I personally prefer not to haggle with people who need the money. I think the beaded jewellery you purchased from the man in the mountains looks lovely. You don't say what percent you were able to haggle your King Faisal Street jewellery down to but I certainly hope you got well over 10% as those jewellers do not need your money as much as the man in the mountain did. You obviously enjoyed your jewellery shopping - it is not something I have ever had the luxury to do. All your featured items are lovely.