Saudi sculptor digs up to 20 meters to reach perfect stones

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Jobran Salim at work. (Supplied)
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Sculptor Jobran Salim's products come in different forms. (Supplied)
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Sculptor Jobran Salim's products come in different forms. (Supplied)
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Sculptor Jobran Salim's products come in different forms. (Supplied)
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Sculptor Jobran Salim's products come in different forms. (Supplied)
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Sculptor Jobran Salim's products come in different forms. (Supplied)
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Sculptor Jobran Salim's products come in different forms. (Supplied)
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Sculptor Jobran Salim's products come in different forms. (Supplied)
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Sculptor Jobran Salim's products come in different forms. (Supplied)
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Jobran Salim at work. (Supplied)
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Updated 16 February 2020

Saudi sculptor digs up to 20 meters to reach perfect stones

  • Salim says that he uses primitive tools made of steel to extract stone from the mountains
  • He uses over 200 tools to cut stones into smaller pieces and mold them the way he wants

ABHA: Jobran Salim, a Saudi man in his mid-50s, can swiftly turn stone into beautiful household pieces and amazing accessories. His father passed down this craft to him and he has mastered it to perfection. 

He lives in an area located on the borders of the Kingdom and Yemen, south Jazan, and loves to hand-carve different pieces out of stone.

Salim, a deft sculptor, told Arab News that he uses primitive tools made of steel to extract stone from the mountains. He has to dig up to 20 meters in order to reach the perfect stones he needs to carve his works. The process can be laborious because of his old tools.

The red clay on top of a mountain signifies that its stone can be sculpted and new shapes can be carved out of it. The sculptor should have great skills to do this task because it is not an easy one.

Salim uses over 200 tools to cut the stone into smaller pieces and mold them the way he wants. He can make pots, plates, cups, forks and spoons with great precision.

“My father was a great sculptor and he taught all the skills I use today around 35 years ago. He showed me how to get the perfect stone and how to recognize a mountain that has good pieces of stone. My children don’t like my job and don’t want to learn to be a sculptor because they believe it is dangerous and entails many risks, which they are not willing to take,” he said.

Jibal Qais or the Qais Mountains, located on the Saudi-Yemeni border, have the best stone and one can see the red clay clearly on top of the mountains right before the sunrise. He used the stones of one of these mountains for 10 years because it had a lot of good material.

In his opinion, the best cooking pots are the ones made out of stone as they give cooked food a special taste.


Israeli jeweler makes $1.5m gold coronavirus mask

Updated 11 August 2020

Israeli jeweler makes $1.5m gold coronavirus mask

  • The 18-karat white gold mask will be decorated with 3,600 white and black diamonds
  • The Israeli company says it will be the world’s most expensive coronavirus mask

MOTZA: An Israeli jewelry company is working on what it says will be the world’s most expensive coronavirus mask, a gold, diamond-encrusted face covering with a price tag of $1.5 million.

The 18-karat white gold mask will be decorated with 3,600 white and black diamonds and fitted with top-rated N99 filters at the request of the buyer, said designer Isaac Levy.

Levy, owner of the Yvel company, said the buyer had two other demands: that it be completed by the end of the year, and that it would be the priciest in the world. That last condition, he said, “was the easiest to fulfill.”

He declined to identify the buyer, but said he was a Chinese businessman living in the United States.

The glitzed-up face mask may lend some pizzazz to the protective gear now mandatory in public spaces in many countries. But at 270 grams (over half a pound) — nearly 100 times that of a typical surgical mask — it is not likely to be a practical accessory to wear.

n an interview at his factory near Jerusalem, Levy showed off several pieces of the mask, covered in diamonds. One gold plate had a hole for the filter.

“Money maybe doesn’t buy everything, but if it can buy a very expensive COVID-19 mask and the guy wants to wear it and walk around and get the attention, he should be happy with that,” Levy said.

Such an ostentatious mask might also rub some the wrong way at a time when millions of people around the world are out of work or suffering economically. Levy said that while he would not wear it himself, he was thankful for the opportunity.

“I am happy that this mask gave us enough work for our employees to be able to provide their jobs in very challenging times like these times right now,” he said.