Yemeni necklace design shows a history of using beads known as a ‘Lazem’ design. The beads used would be made from silver, amber, red coral or black coral. The usage of beads would be for a number of reasons. Amber beads give off a sweet smell when rubbed together and also the amber used is only found in Yemen. Silver beads are often made by soldering together smaller silver pieces and it has been claimed this design is made to resemble the mulberry fruit that grows throughout Yemen. Red and black coral from the Mediterranean is used as a luxury rare item.
When choosing these lazem designs, it is important to be aware of a number of variants that can be found that can diminish the value of the necklace. In certain cases amber dust and plastic is used in place of real amber as they can give the appearance of the real thing. Likewise modern Yemeni pieces may use the cheaper Chinese coral in place of genuine Mediterranean coral that was introduced by Italians many decades ago.
In the lazem design, beads are strung together in multiple strands with each strand often have a hirz amulet connecting them together. Some designs can have as many as 5 strands and 10 ornaments of different styles connecting them altogether. As with other pieces of Yemen jewelry, the makers signature or mark can be found on the pieces. Most often this mark will point to a designer of Jewish origin and date back several decades if not several centuries hence giving the necklace antique value as well as uniqueness in the design. If the makers mark is not present the design of the piece will likely reveal which Yemeni family the design originates from.