Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 July 2019

14 photos that show how diverse Saudi Arabian fashion is

This collection of historical jewellery shows the many looks, international influences and materials of the accessories women wore on the Arabian Peninsula in the 20th century

A new exhibition at Dubai Design District showcases the diversity of regional jewellery and accessories from across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Hidden Treasures: Jewellery from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is on show as part of the L'Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels until April 13, and the two-level exhibition showcases a variety of pieces from a period of about 100 years.

In many ways, the exhibition highlights the styles of the entire Arabian Peninsula, explains curator Pramod Kumar KG. "The modern day borders of the Arab world are new, and so this exhibition really shows the jewellery art of the Jazeera al Arabiya [the Arabian Peninsula].

Scroll through the gallery above to learn more about which specific regions the looks come from.

"We went to all of the different regions of the Kingdom, and we've taken headpieces, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, waist belts," he adds. "And the moment you go upstairs, you see how they might have been worn as a set. So that allows people to see how these jewels were worn by actual people."

Some of the pieces on show would have been worn by the 'middle class', while others are clearly from royalty. "We wanted to show that the same designs were worn by different communities," Kumar explains, "but the choice of material would be different. So, if a commoner would use lower grade silver, the royal would probably use gold, but the design details would more or less remain the same.

"There's also a difference in the jewellery worn in urban areas, and that worn in rural areas. This exhibition shows you all aspects of bedouin jewellery: that worn by traders, merchants and the nomadic people."

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES -Bangles and anklets on display at the Hidden Treasures, a look at early 20th century Saudi Arabia jewelry, show how diverse the different regions fashion was. Leslie Pableo for The National
Bangles and anklets on display at the Hidden Treasures exhibition. Leslie Pableo / The National

In regards to royalty, there is also a small group of diamond pieces from the collection of King Abdul Aziz 'Ibn Saud', the founder of Saudi Arabia, who ruled from 1932 to 1953. These rings, earrings and brooches were all worn by his immediate family.

Updated: April 3, 2019 11:18 AM

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