Turkish Jewellery Industry
Over the past few decades, the production and export of jewellery have gained an important role in the Turkish economy, making the country one of the global leaders in the industry. Turkey currently produces more than 400 tons of gold and 200 tons of silver jewellery. Also, the jewellery industry plays a key role in cultural identity in the Middle Eastern nation.
Turkey and the jewellery sector: an old relationship
Turkey has a strong tradition in the production of jewellery. As an example, in the Anatolia region, jewellery in precious stones has been produced for more than 5000 years. Also, according to popular myths, the first gold coins were minted in this place that currently belongs to Turkish territory.
Over the centuries, different civillizations that inhabited Anatolia have produced religious and artistic objects. The peoples of these populations worked with metals and precious stones in their items. The most interesting and original style of production was brought to the region by the Seljuks, due to the great artistic influence of peculiarities of Central Asian culture.
Although the objects produced by the Seljuks were made through simple tools, their arts exhibited exquisite craftsmanship that defied the technology available at the time.
In Istanbul, jewellery art began to gain relevance with the growth and prosperity of the Ottoman empire. During the reign of Sultan Suleiman, the Magnificent, the city was a center for the jewellery trade.
Also, some historical sources claim that the first fairs and stores specializing in this type of commerce were founded during this period.
Jewelry exports and their crucial role in the economy
Undoubtedly, exports deserve a prominent highlight in the success of the Turkish jewellery trade. Two decades ago, the sector generated revenues of just US $ 8.6 million. Currently, only exports constitute a market with an annual profit of US $ 4.4 billion.
According to surveys, one of three items produced in Turkey is exported, with the jewellery sector representing 1.5% of all Turkish exports. Nowadays, the country is the second-largest exporter of gold jewellery in the world, behind only Italy.
The nation also owns the third-largest gold consumer market in the world, after the United States and India.
Also, more than 300 tons of gold are produced in the existing factories across Turkish territory. This exceeds the quantity processed by China. Turkey also has its gold deposits, with more than 6,500 tons of gold available.
In three years, jewellery exports have exceeded the 5 billion dollar mark, according to the Turkish jewellery Export Association.
Turkey now exports jewellery to more than 140 countries. The United States is the main destination for exports, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Russia, Germany, Israel, and Libya.
Jewellery trade today
Today, the jewellery industry combines the country’s rich cultural heritage with the most modern technology, providing the world with incredible handicrafts with modern design.
The nation has more than 50 large companies that operate in the sector and employs more than 250 thousand workers.
The excellence of the Turkish jewellery sector and the skill of several specialized professionals allow different models to be produced in any quantity, highlighting an impeccable work.
Today, Turkey is a leading supplier to international buyers of gold jewellery.
Ancient artifacts become jewels
The motifs of the artifacts were found in the 3,000-year-old Zerzevan Castle, located near the Çınar district in the eastern province of Diyarbakır, which served as a military settlement during the period of the Roman Empire, became an inspiration for jewelry designers.
At the castle, which is on the “UNESCO World Heritage List” and has been excavating since 2014 under the coordination of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the underground Mithras temple from the Roman era, defense tower, church, administrative building, residences, shelters, grains, and arms stores have been unearthed, as well as stone tombs, water channels, and many vital artifacts.
With the collaboration of Diyarbakır Olgunlaşma Institute (a technical school for girls) and the excavation team at Zerzevan Castle, a project called “Zerzevan Castle comes to life” was started.
The motifs of the works discovered in the castle have become a source of inspiration for the creation of different types of jewelry and various other products.
Jewelry designers, who work in the excavation area on certain days, will exhibit the sample products they have prepared using the motifs of historic artifacts in a fashion show at Zerzevan Castle.
Speaking to state agency Anadolu, the head of the excavation team, associate professor Aytaç Coşkun, said that in the area of the excavation several products used by soldiers and civilians were unearthed and that the jewels between them were very important.
Noting that they produced many types of jewelry, from belts to necklaces, including bracelets, rings, and earrings as well, Coşkun said: “We know that the soldiers of the legion stayed with their wives because we found very fine jewelry. However, there were civilians as well. We dug up jewelry belonging to their wives and children ”.
Noting that they started a study with the Diyarbakır Olgunlaşma Institute for the motifs of the artifacts, Coşkun said that the motifs would be evaluated not only on the jewelry but also on clothing and many other products.
Deputy Provincial Director of the Ministry of National Education, Şirine Eronat, said that they visited Zerzevan Castle to examine and evaluate the artifacts obtained in the excavation area.
Eronat said that they had already studied the motives at the Ulu Mosque and on the İçkale campus, and are now working at Zerzevan Castle, one of the cultural values of the old city.
“Here, the artifacts of history must be brought to light and made concrete. For this reason, we intend to reflect on the products obtained by the excavation team here in jewelry and garments in our jewelry store. Our goal is to make it a business.”