October 22 2009
Bettina von Hase
During my numerous forays into the souk in Marrakech, I’ve discovered two shops for marvellous genuine Moroccan jewellery rather than fakes made mostly in India. The first is Chez Faouzi, which belongs to a genial Moroccan named Mghatete Faouzi, a 60-year-old father of six daughters who has been in the jewellery business for 30 years. His shop is a ravishing display of the three strands of Moroccan jewellery: Berber, Saharan and Tuareg. Mr Faouzi explains the difference between the three: Berber is usually silver, decorated with coral and amber; Saharan is a simple mixture of shell, carved stone and amazonite, a greenish stone; and Tuareg is multicoloured, with beads, often red, silver, brass and copper. Berber women wear many kilos of jewellery, the Saharans only a strand or two, of carved beads.
Right opposite Chez Faouzi is Magasin Berbère, run by Mustapha Ouizid, a 40-year-old third-generation jeweller, who also happens to be the most brilliant guide through the souk. Anyone going for a shopping trip would be wise to hire Mustapha for the day. His shop is an Aladdin’s cave of wonderful Berber amber, carved camel bone bracelets with silver inlay, enormous amber necklaces, and antique embroidered fabrics, shirts, kaftans and wraps. He also has antique ceramic pots, sold to a sophisticated clientele, including Jean Paul Gaultier, who bought two green vases the day before I was there.
Prices in both shops are from 200-1,000 diram for rings, and 400-2,000 diram for bracelets; necklaces start at 1,500 diram (one pound sterling = 12.2 diram).
Also, tell Mustapha to take you to his uncle’s shop, which he keeps under wraps unless he thinks you are worthy of seeing it: the best in Moroccan crafts, very expensive, but a total delight.