Ms. Ransom lived twice as a U.S. diplomat in Yemen in a thirty-year career that took her also to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, and Egypt. She and David Ransom, her late husband, were the first Arabic-speaking tandem couple in the Foreign Service. Over the course of their career, they assembled a collection of more than 2000 pieces of Middle Eastern silver jewelry.
Ms. Ransom has lectured widely in the US about the traditional jewelry of the Middle East and spoke about Yemeni silver jewelry at the Freer Gallery Symposium on the Cultural Heritage of Yemen in 2003. In fact, the idea of researching Yemeni jewelry came out of that seminar.
With the help of American Institute for Yemeni Studies research grants, Marjorie Ransom spent a year in Yemen in the 2004-9 period studying jewelry and costumes. She wrote a book on her findings, Silver Treasures from the Land of Sheba: Yemeni Regional Jewelry, and plans a second volume on silversmiths.