Turkish jewelry design is high-quality, complex and ever-evolving. Many local designers draw on traditional motifs, historical jewelry making methods, and a variety of metals and materials to make fascinating modern pieces. Turkish jewelry is known for its use of precious gemstones, including ruby, sapphire, and agate, as well as oxidized metal that gives an antique sheen to certain pieces and draws out complex details. The center of the Turkish jewelry trade is İstanbul, especially around the Grand Bazaar, where many master jewelers still work. Jewelry-making has been centered in the Grand Bazaar for 500 years, though the master craftsmen are aging and few apprentices are taking their place. Sometimes the master jewelers will give classes in their workshops. The work produced in the Grand Bazaar is handmade and draws on a historical memory of jewelry making throughout the decades in Türkiye, making the jewelry in the Grand Bazaar unique and high-quality.
Jewelry has been produced in Anatolia for more than 5000 years. Methods that are at the root of modern jewelry making were created in the area that is currently Türkiye, including casting and forging. In ancient times, metals like silver, copper, gold, iron, and lead and many different kinds of precious stones were utilized in jewelry making. Later, Türkiye’s location on the silk road meant that jewelry influences from across the world came to Türkiye, and Turkish jewelry practices could spread throughout the world. By the 16th century, Türkiye had entered a golden age of jewelry making, refining traditional jewelry methods and creating iconic and lasting designs. Gold and especially silver jewelry are still commonly made in Türkiye, and some still utilize traditional methods like niello, filigree, and wickerwork in their jewelry creation.
Silver jewelry is so traditional and common that you can still see a collection of historic silver jewelry at various places in the country, including in Topkapi Palace Museum. The modern Turkish jewelry scene has evolved from the imperial days, and often the craft of silverworking and jewelry making is passed down through generations of family who have honed their skills. People flock to Türkiye for unusual and high-quality pieces of jewelry.
If you are interested in antique or traditional jewelry, make sure to stop by the Grand Bazaar to see the artisans at work. For modern, contemporary designers, explore the many boutiques that dot İstanbul and other cities, especially in the Galata, Moda, and Nisantasi neighborhoods.