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WOVEN  BRACELETS OF TRABZON

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Recently, I have been asked about woven bracelets from Trabzon. I am glad to be reminded, because this type of wire work  belongs to Trabzon only, a city at the north-east Black Sea region of Turkey and should be in "My Country" page.

I have got in touch with the Chamber of Jewelers in Trabzon. The president of the board Mr. Nevzat Şakar kindly have sent me some information along with some photographs to present in my website. Also, I have received the kind  permission  of Akdin Jewellery to make use of some photographs from their brochure.  I translated the information of Mr. Şakar as best as I could.

 Jewelry Work in Trabzon 

"There is no literature on jewelery manufacturing in Trabzon. The information we have about this profession is only the elders’ stories and what connection may be established with other related crafts.

The Tibarens who were part of Turans brought to Trabzon the metal working as did the Elizans metal knitting and weaving. These professions which developed to this day form the foundation of jewelry manufacturing in Trabzon.

After, Sultan Mehmet the conqueror’s conquest of Trabzon, in its foundries gold and silver coins were cast with “Trabzon” inscribed thereon. These coins have not survived to our day but they are remembered in the lore of people. The gold and silver weaving is still continued as a speciality craft of this province. It is not a jewellery manufacturing but feligree product.

After the proclamation of the republic in Turkey the jewellers in this area worked in very primitive conditions and manufactured cast earrings and rings. During that period, jewellery making comprised of amulet receptacles, cup, glass, candy bowl filigree ornaments and tray making. It is rumored that wire weaving is a Caucasian art.

Through the Caucasian Turks who came to Turkey in  1870s with the Czarist armies, and who settled in this area after the war, this became a native hand craft.

First masters of weaving   in Trabzon were Haci Mehmet from Dagistan and Ibrahim Horolu from Caucasian Turks which proves that this art comes from Caucasians. The first Turkish woman who weaved the gold lace was Melahat Hanim.

Gold - Silver Weaving Art

916 karat is made by adding copper to fine gold. The fine gold is melted and reduced to 22 karat and formed into sticks. Then, they are drawn to 110 micron and finally to 30 micron. This thin wire is given to the weaver ladies in 10-15 gr lots each. Using a special kind of crochet hook they make 5, 7, 11, 15, 17 rows of  gold weave.

After checking for any faults and correction the finished products are  prepared as bracelets, necklaces etc.

Weaving is entirely hand crafted  and there is no machine involved at any stage.

In Trabzon today there are 800-1000 woman weavers. Women do this art work as a side job to help the family economy.

20 years ago this was a good source of livelyhood. There was 100 ateliers. But the economical conditions, high workmanship fees and the weight of a bracelet (70-80gr) lowered the demand. Later the ateliers closed. Today maybe there are 10 – 15 ateliers which still continue in this fine art.

This art which is particular to Trabzon needs to be protected and supported by the Ministry of Culture. As in other manufacturing one needs to exploit external markets. And this requires financial support."  

 

The address of Trabzon Chamber of Jewellers;

Trabzon Kuyumcular Odası, Kunduracılar Cad.  Ferit Çarşısı,  No.3 Trabzon Türkiye

 

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Weaving is entirely hand crafted  and there is no machine involved at any stage.  Photo courtesy Akdin Jewellers

 The thin wire is given to the weaver ladies in 10-15 gr lots each. Using a special kind of crochet hook they make 5, 7, 11, 15, 17 rows of  gold weave.  Photo courtesy Akdin Jewellers

A young weaver is fusing the end of the gold wire using a blow pipe and candle flame after the weaving work is finished.    Photo courtesy  the Chamber of Jewelers in Trabzon

 

After checking for any faults and correction the finished products are  prepared as bracelets, necklaces etc.  Photo courtesy Akdin Jewellers

Weaving just one bracelet takes about 12 days.

 

Some finished necklaces made out of  Trabzon basket weave work.  Photo courtesy Akdin Jewellers

 

Trabzon basketwave necklace, ring and earrings  from Nakşiler Jewellery.

The weaving art is past from mother to daughter. A woman has to be trained for more then a year by a good master to learn this art. If she is skilled she can be a good weaver in a few years. 

Trabzon today there are 800-1000 woman weavers. Women do this art work as a side job to help the family economy.  Photo courtesy  the Chamber of Jewelers in Trabzon