Jewelry 3K to 5K Yrs Ago and Anatolia’s Jewels
Jewelry has been part of human attire since ancient times, adorning various parts of the human body. Since its existence, human beings have preferred such accessories for both religious and traditional reasons such as overcoming their fears, gaining glory, showing their power and looking beautiful. Although when it comes to jewelry, the first thing that comes to mind is jewelry made of precious stones and gems.
Today, the range of jewelry is almost boundless, including all kinds of materials. Although when it comes to jewelry, the first thing that comes to mind is jewelry made of precious stones and gems. Today, the range of jewelry is almost boundless, including all kinds of materials.
Jewelry has emerged in different shapes and forms under the influence of society and cultures throughout history and continues to do so today, where each culture has stowed and added its unique meaning and presentation to it. Regardless of which society and which culture it belongs to, at its core jewelry has been about aesthetics. Jewelry has been seen as a symbol, as a work of art and even as an investment tool.
While leather, animal bones and plants were the talk of the town in ancient times, jewelry gained diversity with silver, bronze, gold and other precious stones in the later ages as societies continued to develop, and jewelry finally took its current form. Today, jewelry is considered an art in its own right.
Background of Jewelry
The first signs of jewelry making emerged in ancient Egypt about 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. The Egyptians preferred gold to other metals because of its rarity. It soon symbolized political and religious power in society. Jewelry used by wealthy Egyptians would be placed in their graves after they died.
In North Africa, after long and social traditions in North Africa, different ethnic groups in Morocco, Algeria and neighboring countries produced intricate and often silver jewelry to adorn women and form part of their ethnic identity. Developments in the field of arts and social change have a great impact on the emergence of innovative understanding in jewelry.
The jewelry-as-art movement was pioneered by craft workers such as Robert Lee Morris and continued in the United Kingdom by designers such as Gill Forsbrook.
The rise of sensitive designers, the interactions between different art disciplines, the questioning of the phenomenon and functions of jewelry, and the design or production of jewelry by artists working in different art and design disciplines such as sculpture, painting and graphic design are other factors that have been influential in the modern understanding of jewelry.
Anatolia’s Dazzling Jewels
When we look at the jewelry culture in Türkiye, we come across a richness of unique designs across different regions. If one were to take an “Anatolian jewelry” tour from Mardin to Şanlıurfa, from Gaziantep to Erzurum, from Antakya to Tokat, one would be dazzled by the idiosyncratic and distinctive beauty of Anatolia.
Within the Anatolian jewelry culture that stretches all the way to its villages, there are those who have made their voices heard throughout the country and even around the world. I want to talk about some of them today.
The history of Ankara’s Beypazarı district dates back to the Hittites and Phrygians. It is a charming town famous for its historical houses, silverwork and carrots.
Its silver handiwork, especially, and embroidery, known as Telkari, is famous. Silver embroidery, which is known for its fine, tiring handwork and elegance, today has become a symbol of the town and is becoming more and more widespread.
The art of silver embroidery was brought to Beypazarı through the Ahi Brotherhood – a 13th-century guild of traders and craftworkers based in Anatolia and modern-day Ankara. The people of
Beypazarı accepted this art as a craft and developed it over time. The town and the region have served almost as a marketplace along important trade routes in history. Today, silver is brought to the town from other provinces, as was the case throughout history since there are no silver mines in the region.
Today, silver masters and craft workers have gathered together in a beautifully planned-out bazaar in the district and the opportunity to develop this art has been growing thanks to the master-apprentice relationships in the bazaar.
This technique, which requires great patience, manual labor, attention and careful workmanship, is continued as a synthesis of old and new generations.
Kahramanmaraş and its surroundings have a special place in culture and tourism. Although Kahramanmaraş is in the Mediterranean climate zone, it has a border with the Central Anatolian and Eastern Anatolian climate zones.
Kahramanmaraş, located in the eastern Mediterranean, is also famous for its ice cream. The city also has an important tourism potential with its caves, the Ashab al-Kahf cave complex – or the Seven Sleepers, which has an important place in the Islamic and Christian traditions – and plateaus.
Glitter thread embroidery is one of the local arts that young girls from Kahramanmaraş have maintained and kept alive with great effort and patience. Especially “Dival” and “Marash work” are the most common and famous of the local embroidery arts.
Besides coppersmithing, wood carving and silver thread works, which are among the unique branches of arts that Kahramanmaraş has been famous for centuries, jewelry is one art that has been practiced until today.
Maraş Burmese and Habbe Necklace are traditional jewelry models that have been part of the region since the Dulkadir Principality, which ruled in Maraş between the 14th and 16th centuries. These pieces of jewelry are among the indispensable items for women over the age of 40 from Kahramanmaraş.
Symbolically, these designs are the assurance of tomorrow,known in the region as “for death and life,” meaning that they have enough value that their possessor feels financially safe in life and death, as the jewelry can cover any cost that may arise while they are alive and the cost of their funeral when they pass away.
Today, tens of manufacturing workshops established according to the economic power of the people, the level of culture, the understanding of jewelry, the developing technology and the desires of the society, have taken their place in the production of gold jewelry in Kahramanmaraş.
Trabzon, located in the eastern Black Sea Region, is situated at the beginning of the Caucasus and the Iranian transit route. It has connections with its ports to other countries that have a coast to the Black Sea.
It is a touristic city that can be visited in all four seasons with its historical and natural beauties. It is an ancient region of settlement, as archaeological excavations have revealed finds from the Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages.
Trabzon region became an important trade center after the sixth century because of a connection established with the Silk Road. The beautiful coastal city has a rich historical, cultural and touristic texture, and traditional handicrafts in Trabzon and its environs, such as stone and woodworking, weaving, wicker bracelet making, coppersmithing, knife making and quilting have survived to this day, albeit not in their former glory.
Coppersmiths are one exception as they have kept their art famous and popular to this today. Besides many handicrafts in the art of jewelry, Trabzon is famous for its “wicker bracelets.” Wicker bracelets and necklaces are made from both gold and silver and exported to many parts of the country.
The history of the bracelet comes from thousands of years, throughout which it has preserved its characteristics. It is a piece of jewelry that still exists and is sought after today. It draws its strength from the hands that weave it.
The production of the Trabzon Straw Bracelet is entirely based on handcraft. The gold or silver threads are knitted in the hands of the women of Trabzon, loop by loop. The threads, knitted as thin as lace, take a unique form and mixture of emotions in the hands of every artist woman.
Gaziantep is the center point of highways and railways connecting southeastern Anatolia to the west, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.
As in every city of Anatolia, many kinds of handicrafts are still carried out in Gaziantep. We can mention those who specialize in pearls, coppersmiths, kutnu carpet makers, aba weavers, Yemeni makers, zurna makers, Antep handiworks, cube making, silver work, jewelry and Gaziantep rug making.
Craft workers who specialize in pearl embroideries, a unique craft with mussel shells, various strings, and walnut wood, can be seen throughout the region and are widely popular around the country. Copper in Gaziantep is also quite popular, and the region’s fame dates back to ancient times.
Copper products in the region are manufactured as a single piece, they involve no soldering or any other way of joining pieces. Silver craft workers and jewelry also have a widespread and very important place in Gaziantep.
The silverware unearthed from the ancient cities and mounds of Karkamış, Dülük, and Belkıs show that silver craftsmanship and its use have been very common in Gaziantep and its region for a long time.
Gold craftsmanship on the other has been a relatively recent development in the region, emerging in the last century. The most important feature of the gold craftsmanship in Gaziantep is the use of 22-carat gold in production.
The “baklava slice” and “star bracelet” designs that have been a staple of the jewelry masters of Gaziantep, are still famous and popular today. The making of the star bracelet begins with the making of small rings.
When the rolled gold wire is thin enough, it is wrapped in a ring shape and cut. The rings are brought together in threes or fours and welded together with round lining pieces or pieces made of wire called “pıtpıt.” The key part of the bracelet is made with the filigree technique and floral motifs are used in the decoration.