Morocco is the furthest West of the countries of the Mahgreb, these countries which are situated along the North African coast are at the end of the long and hugely important silk routes from the East. Along this highway of commerce came caravans with exotic treasures to trade. The 10th century written accounts from those who trod this ancient trade route give us accounts of Norse traders bringing amber from the Baltic region to trade for silver dirham coins, which were greatly prized by the Norse people.
The Amber beads were given special significance by the Moroccans who coveted them, they were collected piece by piece and added to jewellery as finances allowed.
Amber is believed to protect the health of the wearer, is brings long life and light to the wearer. There is a saying in southern Morocco which states that the size of your amber shows the love of your husband. It is true that a husband would strive to buy as much amber as he was able for his wife. A family’s wealth status and position within a community was easily represented by the jewels the women of the family wore.
For those families who could not afford the luxury of the fossil amber which had travelled from Scandinavia many lower priced alternatives were created, using resins and plastics. The souks of Marrakech are still laden with such pieces. However to buy a genuine Amber necklace which was worn in a cultural context historically could easily cost in the region of £2,000 – £20,000 if you were fortunate enough to find such a treasure.
Exploring the treasures of the souks is a joy, and our walking tour of Marrakech which is a part of our Explore Marrakech package will give you plenty to see and enjoy.