Janbiya, also spelled janbia, jambiya, and jambia, (Arabic: جنبية janbīyah), is the Arabic term for dagger, but it is generally used to describe a specific type of dagger with a short curved blade that is worn on a belt. Although the term jambiya is also used in other Arab countries, it is mostly associated with people of Yemen. Men typically above the age of 14 wear it as an accessory to their clothing.
Types of janbiya 
Like most other weapons, janbiyas come in brands. The price of a janbiya varies between 500 Yemeni Rials to 20 million Yemeni Rials. The brand of a janbiya is associated with the material with which it is made as well as its quality and design.
The hilt or handle 
The most significant part of a janbiya is its hilt. In fact, the price of a janbiya is in most cases determined by its hilt. The saifani handle is known to be the most famous and is found on the daggers of wealthier citizens. The saifani handle is made of rhinoceros's horns, which can cost up to $1500 per kilogram. Different versions of saifani handles can be distinguished by their colour. Most other janbiya handles are made of different types of horns or wood. Apart from the material used for the handle, the design and detail on the handle describe its value and the status of its owner.
The blade, sheath and belt 
In the majority of cases, the double-sided blade of the janbiya is constructed of steel. The blade is stored in a sheath, usually made of wood. The sheath is commonly decorated with various ornaments that signify status. These include silver work, semi-precious stones, and leather. The sheath is fixed on a leather belt, which is normally 2-3 inches wide. The belt is usually worn around the lower abdomen. There are often other items attached to this belt, such as a silver purse for containing money and change.
Use of the janbiya 
Despite the significance of the janbiya, it is still a weapon. Although people have used it in times of dispute, there are societal norms that must be followed in order to avoid defamation. The janbiya should only come out of its sheath in extreme cases of conflict. It is also commonly used in traditional events, such as dances.
The Yemeni jambia 
Structure and make 
Janbias are constituted of a handle, a blade, and a sheath in which the blade is held. It is made of a certain sort of wood, to hold the blade that is fixed to the waist from underneath with an upward curved sheath. The belt that holds the janbia is made of tanned leather, or some thick cloth. There are specialized markets and handicraft markets that decorate it with golden wires.
The janbia handle often tells of the social status of the man who wears it. Janbias are made of African rhinoceros horn, ivory, and also Almoswae horn. A kilo of this often costs $1500. The manufacturers receive this through smugglers, due to the international ban on the substance. This contributed to the retreat in the manufacturing of valuable Janbias. The rhinoceros horn is considered to be the most precious. The Janbias value increases as it acquires modern and old qualities.
Qualities of janbia in Yemen 
The most famous sort of the janbia is that which has a "saifani" handle. It has a dim yellowish luster. When it is clearer, it turns into a yellow color. This is called saifani heart.
Some of the saifani handles are called "asadi", when they turn into greenish yellow. When the handle becomes whitish yellow, it is called "zaraf". There is also an albasali (onionish), kind whose color looks like that of a white onion.
The saifani janbia is often worn by dignitary persons; among them are the Hashimites (an Arab tribe, which claims a direct bloodline to the prophet Muhammad), the judges, famous merchants and businessmen. Some of these Janbias cost about Yr 70 millions, like that of sheikh Al-Shaif, which goes back to Imam Yahia Hameed Aldeen and costs $1,000,000. The ordinary janbias cost about Yr 10-50 thousands.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (April 2009)|
- Hassan Al-Zaidi. "History of Yemeni Jambia - Yemen Times". www.yementimes.com. Retrieved 2008-06-09.
- Friedman, David and Cook, Elizabeth. "Cariadoc's Miscellany: Notes on Islamic Clothing". www.pbm.com. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 1988, 1990, 1992.
- "Ethnographic Arms & Armour - The Yemeni Jambiya". www.vikingsword.com. Retrieved 2008-06-09.