Saturday, December 03, 2022 | Jumada al-ula 8, 1444 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Heart of gold

Hilal al Shibani is an exception when it comes to traditional professions. Youths hardly stay in the same line of their fathers these days as they embrace new jobs. He learned first lessons in jewellery making from his father who was a well-known gold smith in Adam.

Unlike his peers, Hilal al Shibani stays close to his ancestors’ traditional craft of gold and silver jewellery making.


Hilal learned the skill from his father who in turn acquired it from his father in the Wilayat of Adam in the Al Dakhiliyah Governorate.


Hilal is an exception when it comes to traditional professions. Youths hardly stay in the same line of their fathers these days as they embrace new jobs.


He learned first lessons in jewellery making from his father who was a well-known gold smith in Adam. Hilal was not satisfied with observing his father, but was eager to help his father and learn craft.


Hilal said: "I used to go with my father to the workshop where he worked and spend most of my time with him learning the craft that he inherited from my grandparents. My father's grandfather worked as a jeweller and transferred the profession to my grandfather, who passed it on to my father. Out of my father's keenness and love for this profession, he worked on transferring it to my brothers and me. This love and passion for learning how to craft jewellery goes back to seeing my father at work and studying all the stages of crafting in my imagination before I started crafting jewellery. Yes, I used to fail and spoil an entire day's job, but today's failure is just the beginning and a lesson for tomorrow's success." Hilal remembers how older people who used to visit his father's shop told him that the Bani Shaiban neighbourhood in Adam was in the past famous for its gold and silversmiths. It had more than twenty shops. The sounds of hammering started from the early morning and shoppers used to throng the shops for beautiful jewels of gold and silver with exquisite designs.


However, these shops no longer exist, as some of their owners have passed away, and their children have not inherited their profession. Others have left the job because of its impact on their health.


Hilal's father is one of the few who preserved the profession's traditions. He continued to work in his shop and is now working with his sons in Adam.


Hilal expresses his pride in his family for encouraging him to enter this field, especially his father. He considers his father a role model and mentor as he insisted on teaching him the profession.


"Inspiration comes by mixing the present and the past to come up with a modern idea," said Hilal, who works on creating new jewellery collections.


"The Covid-19 pandemic and the accompanying closures, which provided a lot of free time, proved a turning point in my career as a jeweller as I was able to create designs and collections that were popular and admired by many. My designs and jewellery collections are inspired by ancient times but keep pace with the present trends." Hilal adds: "At the moment, I work with my hand for crafting, and I have wide-ranging ideas. I always look forward to continuing to refine my skills. I hope to contribute to training Omani youth on how to craft jewellery by using modern technology and social media platforms. Most of my designs and work style are on social media. I aim to promote the product, educate the public about the beauty of the ancient Omani gold and silverware and contribute to breaking the monopoly of expatriates on this craft." Hilal said: "The present and future of any country begin with knowing the history and inheritance of ancestors from antiquities and traditional crafts, which makes it necessary to inherit it through generations."


PHOTOS BY SAMI AL HINAI


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