Islam is a religion which has prevailed over the world for over 1400 years now and is spread out all across the globe. Initially the advent of Islam was in the Arab region, but over time, it spread in other Middle Eastern, Asian and European countries as well. As it proliferated in different regions slight changes were noticed in the forms of Islamic jewellery, dressing, art and architecture. It evolved to incorporate the various local customs and traditions from the areas that were added to the Islamic empire.
Ancient Islamic jewellery can be segmented according to the ruler eras. The most popular of these include:
• Ancient Arab and Persian Jewellery: This includes the designs and styles worn at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in the Arab and Persian regions.
• Ancient Ummayyad and Abbasaid jewellery: The changes that were seen in the Arab jewellery articles during the reigns of these two Muslim rulers make up the ancient pieces of these eras.
• Ottoman Empire jewellery: The Ottoman Empire extended from Southeastern Europe to Western Asia and Northern Africa. Therefore there was a lot of diversity in the traditions of these regions, which were all incorporated into the jewellery popular during the Ottoman reign.
• Artuqid and Turkish Islamic Jewellery: Although Turkey is a part of the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish jewellery evolved once the empire no longer existed. The changes that emerged are what symbolize the jewellery from this era.
The ancient articles mostly comprised of solid gold and silver coins inscribed with verses from the Holy Quran. These coins were mostly worn as necklaces or occasionally turned into rings and bracelets. The ancient Islamic jewellery was simple in nature and did not incorporate intricate designs and gemstones. The higher quality of gold or silver the better it was considered.
Ancient Islamic jewellery evolved into the present day articles available as the rulers conquered various regions. The use of gemstones and other alloys was initiated after quite some time. However, it is important to know that during the Prophet Muhammad’s time, women were permitted to adorn themselves with all types of jewellery articles within the boundaries set forth for decency and modesty in Islam, but men were discouraged to wear any gold on their bodies. Silver was and is permissible for Muslim men to wear, but it should not be too gaudy or showy.
The modern day jewellery articles worn by the Muslims across the globe all have certain features that have carried over from the ancient Islamic Jewellery designs and some are still as popular as before.