Some of the oldest civilizations in the world originated along the fertile banks of the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and the countries of the Middle East and North Africa have been cultural melting pots ever since. The trade routes adopted by the region’s nomads linked colorful cultures and time-long traditions like so many beads on a string. And indeed it is in the region’s jewelery that its many-layered history of tribes and empires, nomads and villagers is perhaps best seen. From an archaeological point of view, decorative details and motifs can be traced back centuries, sometimes even millennia. This book, Desert Silver, explores the social, economic and religious background of this jewelery. The traditional silver jewelery of the region combines a variety of aspects of desert life. As the unalienable property of a woman, it has practical, economic value; it serves as a social indicator and reveals where the wearer comes from, how rich she is and her status as a wife and mother. Perhaps more importantly it is frequently worn as a powerful amulet. Jewelery plays a subtle role in everyday society as communicator, messenger and bank account, and all of these aspects are discussed in the book and illustrated with rich examples, from Palestinian wedding necklaces made from fragrant cloves to the brightly enamelled bracelets of the Maghreb. The different functions fulfilled by jewelery are rooted deep within society, so changes within that society inevitably impact its jewellery. Now that traditional societies are changing fast, what does the future hold for the traditional silver jewellery of the Middle East and North Africa, jewelery that has remained unchanged for centuries?