Tuesday, September 21, 2010


via gumuslale.com.tr
Yesterday I mentioned Gumuş the TV show. Today we'll explore my other favorite gumuş (silver) - Turkish Sterling Silver.

I love it so much, I used to sell holloware on eBay. Candlesticks were my best sellers. I sold a pair, something like this one from Gumuş Lale , to a guy in Texas.

You won't find anything comparable stamped with Wallace, Gorham or Towle. These are old school! Heavy, solid sterling pieces are created using the lost wax technique. Artisans first carve out a model, then create one in wax, surround it with packed sand or plaster and heat the mold to melt away the wax.  Then the mold is filled with silver. The final step is polishing the piece.

Turkish sterling jewellery is also exquisite. I still have some pieces on my wish list. (The bracelet with the rope design and the ram heads, if you're wondering. I'll also take gold if you can't find the silver one. :))

Sterling is also one of those topics that leads off into another. Armenians. 
Armenians are reknowned in the east for their metalsmithing artistry. Berj, my favorite jeweler in Abu Dhabi was Armenian. He created a stunning ring for me. Custom, not customized.  Many of the craftsmen in Istanbul's silver trade are Turkish Armenians. (In Istanbul there are minority groups, like Jewish, Orthodox or Armenian Turks.)
I'm almost entering a sticky area with this topic, but I will say that the vacant homes on Buyuk Ada gave me inspiration for some of Burnt Amber.  My MC is also based on an Armenian historical figure.  I like to tell my Armenians friends: your history is part of our country and our country is a part of your history.

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Cruella Collett said...

Wow - gorgeous! My parents are going to Istanbul next month, perhaps I need to send a shopping list with them ;)

Jules said...

Oh, I love the fact you are preserving a lost art here. Just educating people to it helps save it.
Wonderful post. :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Carolyn Abiad said...

@Cruella - I can think of LOTS of things to put on that list :

@Jules - I hope all artisans are teaching a new generation, because their craft may die with them if they don't.

LTM said...

omg, Carolyn! That's so wild--I did a feature about an artist here (Ellen Reed) who uses the (she called it) hot wax method to make silver jewelry. I thought it was so cool, I let one of the characters in my first book use it to make a gift for another... !!! seriously!

Thanks for the video--and that candlestick is gorgeous~ <3

Carolyn Abiad said...

@ LTM - Six Degrees of Separation! Interesting how you took the technique idea away from it and I took the artisans' heritage.

Ella said...

My husband went to Turkey, last year and brought me home some amazing apple tasting tea. I have a Turkish coffee set, gorgeous! What an amazing craft~


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