IRAN ART EXHIBITION: WANT TO VISIT IRAN? DON’T FORGET TO BUY TURQUOISE INLAY AS A SOUVENIR FOR YOUR FAMILY
Turquoise Stone is a precious stone that is available in turquoise colours with different tones of blue and green. There is the best type of turquoise in terms of quality, colour and value in Iran, which is one of the oldest mines in the world and turquoise has been mined since 4000 years ago.
First of all, Iranian artist buys waste turquoise Stone chips from turquoise forming workshops or turquoise mines in Mashhad, Neishabour of Damghan. Since such chips are usually accompanied by some earth and ordinary stone chips, they are first separated and cleaned. Then, the chips are graded based on their sizes so the right-sized turquoise chips are used to make each Turquoise Inlaying object in proportion to the surface area. In the next step, the object is heated (to about 300 C) and, while heating, a “walnut lac” is sprinkled onto the parts that have to be turquoise laid so that the lac powder is almost melted and covers the intended surface.
While the lac is still soft and sticky on the object surface, some of the Turquoise Stone chips prepared before based on their size are placed on the work surface. The chips must be placed in a way so that no space is left between them as far as possible. To fill the possible gaps between Turquoise Stone chips, the temperature is added (to about 400 C) and some more lac powder is sprinkled onto the chips until the lac layer is softened to a melting form, and then try to fill all the spaces by adding smaller turquoise chips, or, as they say, the chips sit well on the surface. This is usually done by pressing the turquoise chips by hand onto the surface so that they stick fast to it. After the object is cooled, the lace-covered parts become rigid.
After that stage, the parts covered by lac and turquoise chips are polished with emery so the extra lac and little raised parts of the chips are flattened. That is the stage where the colour of the turquoise chips becomes visible as turquoise and that of lac as black (or dark brown) in the spaces between the chips. After this stage is completed, if there are still some fallouts in some parts of the work, the object is heated again, and the empty parts are restored with small turquoise chips and lac.
Then, the surface is polished and honed again. The restoration is sometimes done with a type of turquoise-coloured putty. The final stage of Turquoise Inlaying is burnishing which is done in two stages itself. The first stage consists of burnishing the metal parts which is done at a goldsmith or machining workshop where the opaque layer that is formed on the metal parts during Turquoise Inlaying is removed with hand tools or a machine blade, and then, those parts are polished so the metal becomes shiny. The second stage consists of burnishing the turquoise inlaid product. After polishing the metal parts of the object, the work is returned to the turquoise inlayer’s workshop where the turquoise inlaid surface is polished with olive or sesame oil so that part becomes shiny, too.
A Turquoise Inlaying craftsman employs different tools and devices for different job stages, mostly including dies, hammers, drills, natural gas and gasoline torches, pincers, pliers, forceps, different metal pipes tweezers, files and. The most important point in Turquoise Inlaying is the correct installation of turquoise chips on the metal so that it is strong enough and the chips do not come off while burnishing the work. The other important point is that a piece of turquoise inlaid work will be of more artistic value if the chips are installed more regularly in close contact, without space in between.
Goldsmith includes the making and preparation of the object intended for Turquoise Inlaying using one of the metals indicated above. This is done by a goldsmith using hands, a press machine or both. After the object is formed generally, be it a piece of jewelry or a container, the part to be turquoise stone inlaid is remarked and a thin metal strand (of the same material as the metal used in the fabrication of the object) called “Kandan” is placed around and soldered onto it. This part around the intended form is a so-called wall standing two or three millimetres above the surface of the container. If the part prepared for Turquoise Inlaying takes up too much of the surface with an empty-looking background, strands of the same metal are used to place smaller patterns of decorative nature (such as flowers, bushes, etc.) inside it and soldered again. This both makes the work more beautiful and makes the Turquoise Stone inlaid surface stronger.
IRAN ART EXHIBITION: Strolling through any bazaar in Iran, you’ll probably have no clue what to buy to bring back home as souvenirs unless you already have some ideas.
The rich diversity, especially in Iranian handicrafts and confectionery, makes it difficult to pick a few items among the many available options that are in front of you.
If you are visiting Iran soon — or are already in the country — and looking for the best gifts and souvenirs to buy in Iran for your family and friends back home, this article is for you!
HANDICRAFTS OF IRAN
Handicrafts are windows into each culture, city, village, tradition, ceremony, rite, ethnicity, language and dialect, each owning different backgrounds and narrating unique stories of their own.
A handicraft perfectly fits the definition of a souvenir given by the dictionary, “something kept as a reminder (as of a place one has visited)”. It is an archetype of a souvenir. So handicrafts are the number one type of souvenirs you can buy in Iran.
The original Persian art is manifested in handicrafts. If you are into arts and crafts of any kind, the colorful Iranian handicrafts will definitely catch your attention. Here are the top handicrafts of Iran to buy as souvenirs.
IRAN ART EXHIBITION: In Mashhad and Nishapur, turquoise (Persian: firouzeh) is used to make beautiful ornaments and accessories such as necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings.
This is not the only use of turquoise. Through a process called ‘turquoise inlay’ (Persian: Firouzehkoubi), small pieces of turquoise are finely embedded into the surface of different objects and utensils to produce ornamental objects. The turquoise inlay is like a mosaic work on various metallic dishes such as trays, vases, mirrors, candlesticks, jewelry boxes, plates, etc., which make for great souvenirs to buy in Iran. Souvenir shops at Iranian traditional bazaars offer various turquoise knickknacks at low prices.