July 21 2011
No visit to Tel Aviv is complete, I find, without a mooch around Nachlat Binyamin arts and crafts Market. Here you will find a stunning selection of artworks and beautiful handmade jewellery by local artists. I travel to Tel Aviv at least once a year and as I never fail to visit the market, I now know my favourite stallholders – among them jewellery designers Idit Ratson and Hila Welner.
Idit Ratson makes pendants wrapped in gold and silver wires, integrated with precious stones from Israel or shells from the Mediterranean shore, which can be worn on chains or bracelets (from $43, first picture). On a previous visit, I purchased a deep purple stone wrapped in gold wires, which I wear either on a braided leather bracelet or on a long gold chain necklace.
Hila Welner uses semi-precious gems, golden leaves and unique elements to create beautiful detailed rings, necklaces and bracelets. All are one-off pieces (priced from around $23-$100 for the rings, second picture, and around $18-$44 for the pendants). I have bought several pieces from her over the years, but my all-time favourite is a sterling silver light green ring with gold-plated spiral beading and a pearl stone in the centre ($82). Her designs also make good, highly individual gifts; I recently bought an eye-catching pendant entwined with gold leaves and a centred coral stone ($72) for my sister, which, she tells me, attracts admiring glances whenever she wears it.
If arts and crafts are not your thing, the fair is adjacent to Shuk Ha’Carmel, the city’s biggest and busiest marketplace, filled with colourful stalls selling everything from dried fruits and spices to clothing, footwear and traditional delicacies such as baklava and knaffe.