The Seashell Merwad

COURTESY Alya Abdulla Musabah Al Futan Al Falassi

My father used to dive for pearls until cultured pearls were developed in Japan. After the pearl trade collapsed in Abu Dhabi, my father, like the other pearl divers, changed his livelihood to fishing. He made nets. He also had a hobby of carving small "merwad" (sticks for applying kohl) from the inside of seashells. Both men and women would use them to apply kohl. Merwad made of shells were appreciated for their soft, cool surface. My father gave the merwad that he made, like this one, to family members and friends.

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