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29 November 2023

Firearms made of falcon bones draw royal Arab aficionados

Arab monarchs and dignitaries love to possess such a special pistol. (ERIK ARAZAS)

By Nadim Kawach

Falcons have always been beloved and respected creatures in Arabia as they symbolise power, dignity and dominance.

These birds have been selected as part of slogans in many national institutions in the Peninsula and falconry has become the most popular sports for natives.

Arab monarchs, sheikhs and other royal figures are often seen holding falcons on their hands and patting them on the head. They show their love for this magnificent bird in the same way a child feels for a coveted toy.

Their fondness of falcons seems so strong that they appear to love every part of them. Even after these creatures are dead, they remain coveted by the royal bird lovers – be it for their portraits, feather or even bones.

These falcon lovers have now found pistols made of falcon bone. And this coveted collectible is now being supplied by a 40-year-old Kuwaiti company.

Ghadeer Al Soor, an Arabic for wall fountain, is the sole agent in the Arabian Peninsula for a handful of hand-made special edition gun makers in Germany, Czech Republic and other European nations.

It has extended business to the import of large quantities of weapons and ammunition for the Kuwaiti ministries of interior and defence, the National Guard and other public establishments.

The distribution of expensive pistols specially designed for Arabian monarchs and sheikhs has remained a lucrative business for this firm.

A large set of beautiful hand-made revolvers that appear to be specially designed for Arabia are on display at the International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

Ghadeer Al Soor is also participating at the show with a small stall that is dwarfed other giant pavilions of major arms producers in the US, Britain and Russia.

But the compnay's stall instantly catches the attention of the visitors for its beautifully-designed, gleaming gold or silver pistols that spur memories of James Bond movies.

It has also pistols made of falcon bones and afficionados are flocking at its stall.

The price of such ornamented pistols ranges between $10,000 (Dh36,730) and $50,000, depending on the design and type of wood and metals used in its manufacturing.

"Last year we sold 17 pieces mostly to Arab kings, sheikhs and other dignitaries…..the handle of some of them is made of falcon bone…..its body are made of pure silver and gold or very rare kind of wood and these are the most expensive pieces," said Jabar Al Daffiri, Deputy Manager of Ghadeer Al Soor, which is owned by Sheikh Ali Sabah Al Naser Al Sabah.

"I don't want to reveal the names of the buyers because it is a very private business. But I can tell you that kings and other royal figures are very frequent customers because they love collectibles, especially such weapons… They have always loved possessing special weapons like swords and daggers."

Al Daffiri said those pistols are designed and manufactured by their producers but sometimes they place order for special design after getting request from clients.

"We pass these designs to them and they manufacture the piece… The main condition by the king or other important clients is that the company must not reproduce that design or make any replica of the pistol requested," Al Daffiri said. "As you know, Arab monarchs and dignitaries love to possess something very special that no one else has. The company and the manufacturers respect this request and give guarantees that there will be no replica of the pistol."

Besides falcon bone, pistols requested by most kings and other royal figures are made of gold, diamond, silver, ebony, ivory and other expensive wood.

"You may think that our sales of such special edition pistols are low but you should know that production of them takes long time because they are hand-made," he said. "Some pistols take more time because they involve more accurate craftsmanship including drawing, carving and fixing of gem stones."

"We also import other arms, machine guns and ammunition but pistols have remained the most coveted by royal figures

"Last year, we sold a pistol to an Arab monarch for more than $50,000 and I can assure you that you will never find anything that looks like that pistol. It was manufactured mainly of eagle bone, gold, diamond, ivory and ebony. You can say it is a real piece of art," Al Daffiri added.