Saudi GazetteJEDDAH – It may come as a surprise to learn that some people who buy rings with gemstones have superstitious beliefs about the colors, designs or sizes of the stones.
Al-Alawi market, located in Jeddah’s Al-Balad district, is home to many of the oldest stalls and shops selling silver rings with a wide range of gemstones.
Saudi Gazette met Abdulhalim Al-Shumairy, 35, who has been selling rings in the market since he was a child.
He said some customers recite the Holy Qur’an once they select their gemstones for their rings.
“I still remember an old man who asked me to bring all the stones I had,” Al-Shumairy said. “He started looking at them one by one, focusing on those that contained thin lines. He believed that all the brown stones were good for bringing good luck.”
Such beliefs, though popular among some sections of society, run contrary to Islamic teachings.
Old Jeddawis used to design their rings according to the colors of their favorite clothes, Al-Shumairy said.
If you want to have a ring that fits your personality, you need to select one that suits your clothes and style, said Al-Shumairy, who believes a silver ring is one of the most important accessories for Arab men.
“Most customers prefer a silver ring with a very popular stone known as Akeek,” he said.
Akeek, which is mined in Yemen and has red and brown colors, is in great demand by Saudis, especially by older men, he added.
Some salesmen fool customers by selling rings that are not pure silver, but “you can know if the silver is good by checking the stamp inside the ring,” Al-Shumairy said.
Silver rings without stones usually sell for SR10 to SR100; stones usually cost between SR300 and SR800, but they can be a lot more expensive, depending on their type, size, color and design, he pointed out.
Wealthy customers tend to demand rare stones, he added.
“Some of them cost thousands of riyals and are mostly sought after by princes, businessmen and tribal chiefs,” he said.
Pilgrims select their gemstones according to their culture, he added, pointing out that Iranians prefer the sky-blue stone widely known in the Middle East as Fairouz.
Other popular choices include emeralds, garnets, amethysts, rubies and pearls, he added.