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Mother to Daughter

Emerald is the birthstone for May, and it’s fitting for us in Chicago given that’s when the deep greens of spring really begin to emerge. 

This emerald, pearl, and gold wedding jewelry set in American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago helps tell the story of three generations of Muslim women and their journey to Chicago. Indian families often give their daughters jewelry, gold, or silver as part of their dowry to honor them and provide for their financial security. Aleem Dawar Alimuddin wore this necklace (jaravee lacha) and these earrings (karan phool) at her 1967 wedding to Syed Alimuddin in Hyderabad, India. In 1970, he left India for Chicago and settled in the Uptown neighborhood. Aleem and their two young daughters, Dilara and Dilnaz, followed him in 1972. Dilara Alim Sayeed wore the set at her wedding in 1988 in Chicago, and Dilara’s daughter Meena Alim Sayeed continued the family tradition by wearing it at her wedding in 2015. 

Listen to Dilara’s story and those of other Muslim Chicagoans featured in the exhibition. Listen now.

Wedding jewelry set, India, 1967. Courtesy of Dilara Alim Sayeed

Stories of Muslim Chicago

Our exhibition American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago draws from more than 100 interviews conducted with Muslim Chicagoans sharing their stories of faith, identity, and personal journeys. Dozens of objects from local individuals and organizations, such as garments, artwork, and photographs, as well as videos and interactive experiences expand on how and why Chicago is known as the American Medina. Learn more.

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago's Stories
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