There are many great places to buy jewelry in Turkey and it depends on where in Turkey you are visiting. Let's take a look at some of Turkey's top destinations for jewelry!
One of the most famous places in Turkey, let alone the world is the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. It was founded in 1453. This centuries-old market is full of stalls and shops selling all kinds of jewelry, from traditional Turkish pieces to more modern designs. The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest markets in the world. It covers more than 60,000 square meters and contains over 4,000 shops. It is a maze of different sections and multiple malls! Don't be surprised if you lose track of time and lose track of where you are once you are inside this shopping paradise. If you're looking for an amazing variety of jewelry, this is one of the best places to be!
While most Western Tourists frequent Istanbul and other cities in Western Turkey, Van in Eastern Turkey is an extremely popular tourist destination for people from countries such as Iran and even Korea. Why? It has beautiful nature - including the famous Lake Van and world heritage sites like centuries-old churches, fortresses, and mosques. This part of the country feels very different from the more modern Western part of the country. If you only visit Western Turkey, you are missing out on what some consider to be the "real" Turkey. What jewelry should one look for when visiting this amazing part of the country? You are in luck! Van has a long, storied history of jewelry making because of the Urartians - from which modern Armenians are descended from. The Urartian people were some of the earliest metalworkers in the world. They began making jewelry in the 8th century BC and their pieces are still prized for their beauty and craftsmanship. Jewelers today still use their techniques to make jewelry, meaning some jewelry processes, for example, casting hasn't changed in thousands of years!
Government and guild records indicate Urartian decendents, the Armenian jewelry craftsmen, were the prominent jewelry makers in Van. If you find yourself an Armenian jeweler in Van, you can rest assured the craftsmanship is some of the best in the world and has likely been the family business for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
Mardin is a city in southeastern Turkey, close to the Syrian border. Don't let that stop you from visiting and enjoying this unique, fantastic city that is also known for its indigenous beautiful jewelry. The many Assyrian craftsmen of Mardin have a long tradition of making jewelry as well. Mardin is well-known for its indigenous jewelry, called telkari. Telkari jewelry is made with silver and gold wire, and the designs are typically very intricate. The workmanship is amazing - it's no wonder that this type of jewelry has been made for centuries!
One of the most popular designs of telkari jewelry is the sunburst motif. This motif can be found on earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and rings. It's a beautiful design that is said to represent the sun and its rays and reflects a popular religious belief system that many experts link to the modern Alevi sect of the Islamic religion.
You know by reading above that the first pieces in Anatolia were created by the ancient Urartian people, and the tradition has been passed down through the centuries to today. You can find Black Sea jewelry in many cities throughout the region, including Trabzon and Samsun.
Kazazlık, Kazaziye, or simply Kazaz is a type of jewelry that is popular in this region and is similar to the Mardin style of Telkari. Over the years, the style has evolved and changed, but the high level of craftsmanship has always been a hallmark of Turkish Kazazlık jewelry. The name of the Black Sea style comes from the Turkish word for "to cut," and the pieces are characterized by their intricate designs and beautiful craftsmanship. Kazazlık jewelry is often made from silver or gold, and the most common designs are floral patterns or geometric shapes. The pieces are often quite small, and they are often worn as earrings, bracelets, or necklaces.
The history of Turkish jewelry making is deeply linked to the traditions and cultures of the Mediterranean region of the country as well. Some of the earliest pieces were created by the ancient Lydian people, and the tradition has been passed down through the centuries to today. Lydia was a kingdom located in what is now western Turkey. The Lydian people were known for their skilled artisanship, and they created some of the earliest examples of jewelry in the region. Their pieces were often characterized by fine details and unique shapes that set them apart from other styles of jewelry.
The ancient Greeks were also heavily influenced by Lydia's jewelry-making traditions. Many of the early Greek jewelers were trained by Lydian craftsmen. As a result, Greek jewelry is often very similar to Lydian jewelry in terms of design and craftsmanship. You can find Lydian jewelry in many cities throughout the region such as Bodrum, Fethiye, Kas, and Antalya
Of course, no matter where you shop for jewelry in Turkey, you'll be able to find a wide range of materials used in making it. Gold and silver are both very popular, but you'll also see a lot of pieces made with semiprecious stones, glass, and even wood. Whatever your taste, you're sure to find the perfect piece of jewelry to take home with you from Turkey.