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Masbahas are an offshoot of the prayer bead tradition present in almost all religions. Though Najib will be briefly cover that history, the core of the talk will be about the Islamic Masbaha as we know it today in the Middle East. Najib will talk briefly about its religious significance and how it evolved into an accessory made of a myriad of precious and semi-precious stones and resins.
To narrow a forbiddingly vast subject further, Najib will only talk about 5 traditional Masbaha materials which most of us are accustomed to seeing: Amber, Yussur, Kook, Ivory and Murjan (Coral). He will give an honorable mention to the Turkish synthetic amber phenomenon, and how it came to be. The talk will be supported by many photos of masbahas in each of these materials.
Najib is a Lebanese businessman. Masbahas are not his vocation, he is just a collector. Collecting is something he inherited from both parents. His father Adel had a penchant for collecting, but it was his mother, Jamal Alameddine (who founded the Artisanat du Chouf) and his two uncles who influenced this predilection the most. They all shared a keen eye for good artisanship and an obsession with collecting it.
Najib travelled to the UK and US for his education and worked in countries in both the Middle East and Africa. All through, his affinity for Masbahas never waned. Because he never had the means for owning a huge Masbaha collection, he needed to trade and barter to improve on what he had. This gave him a keen insight on the wonderful mystical world of the Masbaha.