The Tradition of Ambergris
Some of the perfumists of Tunisia souks specialize in the making of the fragrant artisanal material called ambergris, which consists of smagh, or amber powder, antelope musk, rosewater and clove. The material gently kneaded produces a material that can be fashioned into all sorts of shapes before being dried in the shade. Tunisia’s beldi, or bourgeois, liked use ambergris to make rosary-like Muslim prayer beads with a velvety touch and refined scent. And the country’s women have long appreciated jewelry accented with ambergris, which warms and releases its lovely fragrance upon contact with the skin. In the region of Mahdia, the material is often used to make the quintessential skhab triangle emblem.