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Turkish Silver & Jewellery Sector


The first major silver mines and examples of jewellery were recorded around 4000 BC,

located in Anatolia. They were mostly the main source of silver for many of the growing

cultures in that area of the world and others that would trade for silver.

Silver has been used for thousands of years as ornaments and utensils, for trade, and as

the basis for many monetary systems. However, the basic most notable use of silver is its

beauty and appeal as an item of jewellery. Silver has always been known to enhance the

beauty of precious stones hen set into a ring or a necklace.


Since the discovery of silver, Anatolia has been a major center for silver jewellery

production. Think about a land which has developed its own techniques and figures in the

art of jewellery production for thousands of years. All of the civilizations which have

inhabited Anatolia have produced numerous objects for both religious and artistic

purposes. People worked with metals, sometimes including precious and semiprecious

stones. The Hittites, Urartians, Phrygians, Ionians, Lydians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks

and Ottomans all established their rule in Anatolia and created their own jewellery styles.


The most significant style among the different types of jewellery was brought to Anatolia by

the Seljuks. Their great influence on the Turkish jewellery tradition is demonstrated by

Turkoman jewellery which originated in Central Asia, and is still produced and worn by

Turkoman tribes. Colored gemstones and pieces of glass with symbolic meanings, as well

as silver and gold, are used in this jewellery which is still produced and worn in Turkey.

During the time of the Ottomans, a great importance was given to the jeweller’s art. Many

goldsmiths came to İstanbul from Khorasan, Tabriz, Bosnia, the Balkans, the Russian

border and other parts of the Ottoman Empire in order to show their products and

capabilities. With the rise of the Empire, it became much easier for goldsmiths to find the

metals and precious stones that they needed for production. During and after the reign of

Suleiman the Magnificent, Istanbul became one of the world’s most prominent centers for



Traditional Turkish jewellery making techniques include filigree (telkari), niello (savat) and

wickerwork (hasir). Filigree is a technique in which the artist creates motifs by soldering

together fine silver wires. Since the wire used is often extremely delicate, this technique

requires an almost infinite degree of patience. In the past, filigree was used for women’s

belts, bracelets, earrings and brooches. Filigreed women’s accessories are now produced

in only a few places in Istanbul and in a couple of places in Anatolia, namely Beypazari

and Mardin.


The niello technique is based on tiny, delicately worked pieces of hand-painted enamel

which are partitioned by precious metals. In wickerwork, another technique used by

Turkish jewellers, delicate wires are woven together. Wickerwork is used mostly for silver

jewellery such as necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Wickerwork products are mostly used

in Mardin, Beypazarı and Trabzon.



Today, the Kapalıçarşı (Covered Bazaar in İstanbul) is one of the most important silver

jewellery centers in Turkey. The history of the Kapalıçarşı dates back to the 15 th Century.

The core of the Bazaar was constructed between 1451-1481, during the reign of Sultan

Mehmet the Conqueror. The Bazaar was the centre of the domestic and international trade

of the Ottoman Empire and it is still the most important trading centre of Istanbul for

© Republic of Turkey – Ministry of Economy, 2012 3


handicrafts and its famous worldwide. It is assumed that nearly % 90 of silver used in

Turkey is used in Kapalıçarşı. Also you can find silver jewellery items that come from

Trabzon, Eskişehir, Beypazarı, Mardin-Midyat, Urfa and Gaziantep.


Turkish jewellery products are inspired by unique, rare collections of jewellery from

different civilizations and cultures that have lived in Anatolia. In addition, handcraft and

high technological production techniques coexist in jewellery design and production. Now

Turkish jewelers are able to combine this unique, historical and cultural heritage with

modern production and design capabilities and present its products to the world.




Although silver jewellery constitutes a small part of the total Turkish jewellery exports, the

sector has increased its exports significantly in the past ten years. The export value of

silver jewellery sector was 1.7 million dollars in 1999, however it reached 103,1 million US

Dollars by the end of 2011.


In 2011, the major destinations for silver jewellery exports were the USA, Germany, Spain,

Saudi Arabia, Romania and the Russian Federation. Turkish silver jewellery was exported

to some 100 countries around the world in 2011.


The Turkish silver jewellery industry also enjoys large sales to foreigners visiting Turkey.

The sales to tourists usually increases between April and September in the Mediterranean

and Aegean parts of Turkey.



Five major jewellery fairs are held in Turkey.

􀂃 The “Antalya Jewellery, Silver and and Watch Fair” takes places in Antalya in April.

􀂃 The “Istanbul Int’l Watch, Clock, Jewellery, Machinery and Equipment Fair” takes
place in February and

􀂃 “İstanbul Jewellery Show – IJS” takes place in March, both in İstanbul. “Izmir

􀂃 JEWEX” is organized in Izmir

􀂃 “Cukurova Gold and Jewellery Fair” takes place in Gaziantep in May.



􀂃 İstanbul Minerals and Metals Exporters’ Associations (IMMIB)


􀂃 Turkish Jewellery Association



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