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Silver markets have flourished in the WANA region since antiquity. Silver was casted and re-casted again and again as women bought jewelry in times of prosperity and sold the pieces in times of despair. Sometimes a silversmith even bought back his own pieces to protect his own creations.
In Pharaonic Egypt, silver was scarce and seldomly used. Silver was even valued more precious than gold during the greater part of Pharaonic history. For the nomads in The West Asian and North African region in later periods, it became a solid investment. It has become relatively cheap over the centuries, but kept its value.
Silver displayed a person’s wealth, her social position and her worth to her family as new pieces of jewelry were for example given to her whenever she gave birth. The silver was valued by weight. Sometimes a woman was given several kilograms of silver jewelry on her wedding day which remained in her personal possession throughout the marriage. Even nowadays the pieces are sold by weight of the silver, not considering the workmanship. However, this economic value of the pieces is not enough to describe its worth. In Egypt silver has been hallmarked relatively early when compared to other countries in the region. These hallmarks give the silver content and provide a relative way to date the pieces. Also Egyptian hallmarks sometimes display the name of the jeweller.
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