Country: Tajikistan
Tajik traditional jewelry - an amulet. Silver, engraving on metal, blackening, gems. Lhujand city, XIX century

Jewellery is one of the brightest manifestations of artistic creativity of the Tajik people. The earliest samples discovered by archeologists belong to distant antiquity of Mesolithic era. In Tajikistan, jewellery was always an inseparable attribute of the national costume, carried a magical and sacred function, demonstrated public significance of the individual, his caste and marital status.

The jewellery of the Tajiks used zoomorphic and floral ornaments, solar signs, calligraphy. They were primarily made of silver or gold, although masters also used brass, copper, bronze and tin. For processing metals, they used techniques such as casting, engraving, embossing and carving. Production techniques included niello, granulation and filigree. As an additional decoration, semi-precious stones such as coral, carnelian and turquoise were used. It was believed that these stones have magical powers and features of talisman. Thus, carnelian, according to legends, brought peace and prosperity, abundance and joy; corals manifested wealth and fertility; turquoise ensured victory in battle and pearls had the ability to heal disease and protected from misfortune and woe.

Jewellery accompanied people throughout their whole life. Bracelets of colored or black beads with white impregnations were considered as averters, protecting children wearing them from the “evil eye”. Tajik girls would wear earrings just 5-10 day after birth. Girls and young women wore large earrings, breast pendants and a lot of rings and bracelets. The wedding jewellery set was numerous and complex. Earrings and necklaces, richly decorated with semiprecious stones, women wore until the first-born. Women of 40 – 45 years of age would wear very simple rings and earrings. Halka and gushvor earrings were popular and widespread, holbini nose earrings were less common. An unchanging part of the elegant women’s costume was the plait hangings and chochpopuk pendants for the braids, made of black silk, with silver or gilded ornaments and tassels. Little silver box pendants were intended for the storage of prayers from Koran. Men also wore jewellery: niello rings and belts with embossed metal and silver plates.

In Pendjikent, Khujand, Istravshan, Kulyab, Gissar and Kubadian one can still find old names of villages and quarters, among which there are often terms related to jewellery art (zargar). Villages called “Zargar” still exist near the cities of Kurgan-Tube and Kofarnigana. It’s worth noting the names of famous jewelers of the past. Mirusmon Zargar (Khojent city) was famous jeweller who made belts, Mullo Otaboi Mirboki Zargar and Mullo Khudoyori Istaravshani (Istaravshan city).

Tajikistan has the richest in the region resources of precious and semiprecious stones – ruby, turquoise, tourmaline, garnet, rock crystal, lapis lazuli, etc. Unfortunately, at present time jewelry production in the country is not developing. The jewelry market is dominated by the gold jewelry of uniform design, which is bought for the bride’s dowry.

Further reading

Umarova Zarina Khodzhamakhmadovna. History of development of jewellery art of Tajiks, 2009, abstract of the dissertation.