Damascus: Jewellers

Arabic: ṣāʾigh

Date: c.1890-1906

The Dictionary of Damascene Crafts claims that the best jewellers were the Christians working in the market near the Umayyad Mosque. They employed a crucible, bellows, and what might be a soldering iron for the making and repair of silver and gold jewellery. In addition to jewellery, they also produced coffee cups, tumblers, and fittings on belts and sheaths. See also: Goldsmith (dhahabī); Tinner (samkarī); Belt maker (kamarjī).

Citation: al-Qasimi, Muhammad Saʿid, Jamal al-Din al-Qasimi, and Khalil al-ʿAzm (al-Azem), Dictionnaire des métiers damascains, ed., Zafer al-Qasimi. (Le Monde d’Outre-Mer passé et présent, Deuxième série, Documents III, Paris and Le Haye: Mouton and Co., 1960), pp. 264-65 (chapter 188).

See also: Milwright, Marcus. “Metalworking in Damascus at the End of the Ottoman Period: An Analysis of the Qamus al-Sina‘at al-Shamiyya”, in: Venetia Porter and Mariam Rosser-Owen, eds, Metalwork and Material Culture in the Islamic World: Art, Crafts and Text. Essays presented to James W. Allan (London: I B Tauris, 2012), p. 276.



Date: 1928

Freya Stark (d. 1993) describes briefly a visit to the jewellers’ sūq, noting that they locked their goods in iron safes over night. See also: Silversmith; Goldsmith.

Citation: Stark, Freya. Letters from Syria (London: The Travel Book Club, 1944), p. 117.