© Sharjah Museums Authority

Name of Object:

Pearling Scales with their casing


Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (Sharjah)

Holding Museum:

Sharjah Maritime Museum / Sharjah Museums Department


Hegira late 13th – early 14th century / AD late 19th – early 20th century

Type of object:

Copper alloy and fibre pearling scales with metal and wood casing



Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Wood, copper alloy, fibre


Length 152 mm, width 27 mm


Sharjah Emirate


Pearling scales (mizan, pl. muwazin) like these were an essential tool for any pearl merchant as all aspects of a pearl’s physical appearance – its shape, hue, perfection, size and indeed weight - all determined its value and saleability. The scales typically consisted of small hemispherical copper alloy bowls suspended by simple string from a balance. Polished agate or - more rarely - copper alloy weights were used to determine the pearls' weights accurately. In order to prevent the scales from getting damaged, they were carefully stored in a purpose-made copper alloy container. The scales were generally made in India, with one known centre located in Ahmedabad.

Citation of this web page:

Ulrike al-Khamis "Pearling Scales with their casing" in Sharing History , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=sh_objects;AWE;ua;38;en&id=weights_and_measures

Prepared by: Ulrike Al-Khamis

MWNF Working Number: UA 039