A Shiite cleric tries on a ring at a jewellery shop in the main market of Iraq's holy city of Najaf on September 13, 2017. AFP / Haidar HAMDANI
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Like for many pilgrims visiting the Iraqi Shiite holy city, buying a gemstone ring is part and parcel of the experience.Ghoraifi's passion for gemstone rings from Najaf, set with agate stones, rubies or turquoise, is shared by most of the pilgrims, primarily from Iran, who visit the city to pray at Imam Ali's shrine."Turkish or Thai jewelry is sold by the gram, whereas a Najaf ring is sold individually, for between 40,000 and 50,000 dinars," or about $35 to $40, not including the price of the stone, he said.Some clients bring in their foreign-manufactured rings for the stones to be recut in Najaf's workshops.For pilgrims, the purchase of a Najaf ring is seen by many as the final rite.As Sheikh Jassim al-Mandalawi, 42, explained to AFP, certain rocks bring "pardon, such as onyx from Yemen, while emerald is a portent of success". A ring with a red agate stone or a sapphire can sell for 100,000 dinars or more, he said.
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