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The Ottoman Empire's Jewelry Art

The craftsmanship of Ottoman adornment crafting reached its pinnacle in the sixteenth century, with gold and precious stones utilized not only for wearable gems but also for articles of all time questions such as book covers, utensils, weapons, and so on, using a variety of materials such as cowhide, ivory, glass, bone, mother-of-pearl, horn, wooden, and metals such as zinc.


It makes little difference if man initially wore an ornament 75,000 or 100,000 years ago. However, studying the evolution of jewelry over the ages reveals man's increasing sophistication in the use of tools and metals, as well as his discretionary cash and varied aesthetic views. Mankind does not appear to have progressed very far from the earliest necklaces of animal teeth that may have had magical meaning to today's charm bracelets.


Ottoman young girls wore chokers and a variety of other ornaments. Gold coins have been strung on long gold or silver chains or suspended from a pearl necklace. Affluent young females have been seen wearing such neckbands. Hafize Sultan, Sultan Mustafa II's life partner, wore a pearl necklace down to her legs with a diamond the size of a turkey egg and two series of emeralds, according to the eighteenth-century British Ambassador in Istanbul.


Although aigrettes, necklaces, and earrings are represented, miniature paintings do not do credit to the Ottomans' use of jewelry for personal adornment. Paintings from western painters who visited Istanbul throughout the ages provide a clearer image, presuming that these men saw samples of Ottoman jewelry while being unable to visit harems firsthand.


As one could assume, the Ottomans utilized their jewels to convey authority and virility as well as personal ornamentation. Furthermore, they employed gems in ways that we would not think of today, such as on thrones, book covers, swords, quivers, goblets, and lamps. Evens trays were crafted of gold and silver and were frequently sent as gifts to foreign kings. Gold and silver wire was used to embroider apparel, coverings for tables, furniture, and curtains, as well as carpets.

Many of the valuable jeweled things that the Ottomans prized are still on exhibit at Topkapi Palace Museum today. The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality's Culture, Inc. division has just released a book, Istanbul's 100 Jewels and Artisans, for the interested. And on November 15, many people will be thinking about the diamond set that got away.