Marjorie Ransom is an unlikely jewelry hoarder as she spent her whole career in the U.S Information Agency and later in the Department of State.
Having been assigned to the Middle East; she lived and worked throughout the Arab world where she fell in love with traditional silver jewelry after buying her first piece in the 1960s in Yemen. She began researching and collecting traditional silver jewelry, particularly from Yemen. Her collection of pieces is one of the largest and oldest in the world as it is customary in the region to melt the old silver pieces in order to create new ones.
Her work has saved thousands of old pieces and made sure future generations can learn the artisanal craftsmanship behind them.
When Marjorie Ransom bought her first piece of Yemeni silver jewelry in the 1960s, she started weaving a bond with Yemen that would last a lifetime.
Marjorie also put together her first illustrated study of ethnic silver Yemeni jewelry in a book titled “Silver Treasures from the Land of Sheba” the book showcases an endangered artistic and cultural tradition with over three hundred photographs showing unique pieces and rare images of women wearing their jewelry with traditional dress from the various regions of Yemen.
Marjorie also talks about the people she met and befriended; but the most interesting part is her exploration of the significance of a woman’s handmade jewelry: How it empowers them with its attributes of protection, beauty, and personal identity found in their amulet cases, hair ornaments, bridal headdresses, earrings, necklaces, ankle and wrist bracelets.
If you are a fan of ethnic jewelry, a jewelry designer, or an art historian this book is a must-have as well as an exhibition of Marjorie’s renowned collection of Middle Eastern jewelry at American museums.