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Silversmithing Today

In the past, especially in the countryside areas of Gaziantep, Adıyaman and Kilis, decorative headpieces were an important part of the women’s costumes. Silver caps and necklaces were among the accessories a woman always wore.
Silver handcrafts made in the region for men included worry/prayer bead tassels, whip handles, walking stick handles, sword and dagger hilts and scabbards, tobacco boxes, watch chains and silver “zurna” music pipes.

While in former times gold jewellery was mainly preferred in the cities, silver was more popular in the country. Diadems; silver headbands called “gaytan” which were traditionally donned upon marriage to be worn ever after; decorative pieces called “shekke” and “pishpishi” worn on the sides of the “fes” or cap; and high-heeled “takunya” clogs were accessories generally worn in the villages. Other silver items much manufactured and used by a wide number of people are:
• Head pieces such as Sırmalı (brocaded) Fes, silver diadem, Kakma (enchased ) Fes.
• Bracelets in the Koruklu, Kurbağalı and Kabaralı styles.
Watch chains, Antep necklaces, Menteşe necklaces, woven belts, Aşşık belts, amulets, new moons, small and large half-moons, pırpırı (silver wire decoration), Maşallah medallions and agate rings.

Particularly in the costumes of women living in the rural areas of Gaziantep, Adıyaman and Kilis, great importance is placed on decorative headpieces. These very detailed pieces made of silver also signify the wearer’s social status, and each one is a work of art.
One technique employed in silver jewellery making which results in especially aesthetic items is niello. Bracelets, belts, beads, cigarette cases and holders made with this technique are particularly valuable. Besides niello, other techniques are “telkari” (filigree), embossing, etching, stone setting including bead setting/pave technique, and enamelling.
Prominent products in Gaziantep are earrings, rings, bracelets and modern necklace styles.
Today, silversmiths have become expert at producing pendants, rings and earrings of modern design, which they make using traditional methods. Since each medallion is styled during manufacture, each one is unique, completely a product of the artisan’s imagination and skilled hands. From the Ottoman period onwards, yellow metals such as bronze were used in tandem with silver, adding special flair to the pieces.

Used in the past more as jewellery in rural areas, and for other personal accessories in the cities, silver was also a sign of social status, the amount of silver a family possessed being a symbol of their wealth.

The contents of this publication, which has been funded through the 2010 Economic Development Financial Support Programme of the Silk Road Development Agency, does not represent the views of the Silk Road Development Agency and/or the Ministry of Development. The Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce is the sole bearer of responsibility for the contents.