Kicking off our first post in the guest blogging series.
MamaMona has been a favorite blogger of mine for quite some time. She writes with an honest voice in a diverse range of topics. On her blog you will find posts about parenthood, shopping, Egypt, Islam and lots of other things. Perhaps what makes her stand out the most is that she is an Egyptian woman who was raised in the US and then came back as an adult. It makes her perspective of Egypt different than people who have lived their whole lives in Egypt. She is a reminder that you can be a very dedicated mother, yet still your very own person. Here is Mona’s take on Gold and the Egyptian culture.
A culture of gold in Egypt
In Egypt, gold is a big deal. Since the days of the pharaohs, gold is king. Growing up in the states, I never really thought about gold jewelery and always preferred silver to gold anyway. In the US, 14k gold is very common, while here, it’s almost never sold or dealt with. It’s strictly 18k or 21k in the Arab world.
Most Egyptian women love gold. Throughout a woman’s life gold is key. When a baby girl is born, people buy gold earrings, bangles, pendants even tiny rings for the newborn. This is seen as a good gift because the parent can keep it or sell it eventually if need be. When a young woman is getting married, there’s the Shabka. It’s a traditional jewelery set that’s a wedding gift to the bride from the groom. It’s a huge deal, the woman goes with her fiance and probably her mom to pick it out. This is a big part of the engagement/marriage agreement, I gather. .
Gold jewelery is usually any Egyptian woman’s prized possession. Often stored in a mother of pearl box (on Egyptian soap operas at least.) Gold is often how some rural women keep their wealth, on their arms and ears, etc. The thing about gold, it’s considered a girl’s best friend here. It’s something that people like to have, and seen as more than just an accessory or a piece of jewelery because in tough times, if need be, people sell it for cash. Nowadays, more modern styles are popular. White gold and diamonds are popular with Egypt’s elite as well.
On a more personal note, I recently was purchasing something from a gold shop here in Hurghada. The glass cases and windows were totally empty. Just bare velvet neck shaped displays. Recent crime has shop owners worried. Tourism is really down and times are tough since most people’s livelihood comes from the tourism industry. A woman came in to the shop with 2 small girls. She removed their earrings and had the man weigh them and waited to hear how much she would get for them. I could do nothing but look at the ground and feel like crap.