This series of stamps features Jewish bridal jewelry from the collection of the Israel Museum's Wing for Jewish Art and Life. The collection reflects the rich mosaic of Israeli society and contains rare and typical items dating from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. In addition to their ornamental function, these pieces, created mostly by Jewish silversmiths, are also imbued with economic and amuletic value, and they attest to the wearer's social and personal status as well as indicating the community to which she belongs.
Bridal Head Ornament Bukhara, late 19th c
Bridal jewelry from Bukhara. Unlike the local women's jewelry, which is usually made of silver, the jewelry of the Jewish bride from Bukhara is made of hammered gold and inlaid with green and pink tourmalines. The bridal set includes head and forehead ornaments, temple pendants, earrings, necklaces and bracelets – all characterized by precise and delicate goldsmithing (including the back of the items). The Jews of Bukhara were known for their goldsmithing work throughout the 19th century, after which many turned to trade and became wealthy merchants.
Wedding Ring Italy, 17th c
The wedding ring plays a central role in the ceremony in which bride and groom are declared husband and wife. These extremely lavish rings – inscribed with the words mazal tov and featuring a tiny house that probably symbolized the Temple or the establishment of a new home – appeared in Ashkenazi communities in Germany and Italy as far back as the 13th century. Their large size indicates that they were only used for the ceremony, after which they were either kept by the family or given to the community.
Bridal Jewelry Yemen, 1930s
Bridal jewelry from Sana'a, Yemen. Covering her from head to toe, the jewelry ewelry of the Jewish bride from Sana'a is characterized by its abundance and the fixed order in which it is worn. The most significant items of the bride's apparel are the headdress and the numerous necklaces and chains worn on her chest, including large silver and gilt-silver beads and amuletic pendants, all made of exquisite hammering, granulation, and filigree work – a rare testament to the renowned skills of the Jewish silversmiths of Yemen. The tiny patterns on the beads and amulets symbolize wealth and fertility.
The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Wing for Jewish Art and Life
Special thanks to No'am Bar'am–Ben Yossef, Senior Curator