Unique ‘black pearl’ fashioned by skillful masters in Turkey’s east
İbrahim Nar has been fashioning jewelries and prayer beads from obsidian, a dark natural glass, for the past 20 years.
The volcanic glass obsidian gets extracted in the eastern province of Kars’ Sarıkamış district before being used in many sectors, especially in jewelry.
The obsidian, which has been around for 10,000 years, has rich beds in the fields of Sarıkamış and its vicinity. It is also called the “black pearl” as it is mostly found in black color, but can also be brown and green.The “black pearl” is versatile, with many health centers and spas having used it in recent years to help take away stress from customers.
Nar transforms the obsidian, which was formed by the rapid cooling of lava 10,000 years ago, into beautiful jewelry and other products.
The 48-year-old master’s products – jewelries and praying beads – have been drawing great interest.
Nar cleans the black glasses in his studio after collecting them from the Mescitli neighborhood. The cleaned obsidian glasses are cut and given shape to according to the product it will be transformed into.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Nar said he has been doing the profession for 20 years. He said the obsidian in Sarıkamış was of high-quality as it contains a high degree of crystal. “We call it obsidian diamond or black pearl. The volcanic treasure that has such a valuable and historical background is in Sarıkamış and it is appreciated by us,” he said.
70 percent of Turkey’s obsidian in Sarıkamış
Nar said rich reserves of obsidian occurred after a sudden burst and cooling of lava at the Allahu Akbar Mountains and other volcanic mountains in Sarıkamış. “Seventy percent of Turkey’s obsidian beds are in Sarıkamış,” he added.
“Obsidian is very precious for Sarıkamış, and Sarıkamış is very lucky to have it. If different studies are carried out in industrial fields, this stone will be a great source of living for citizens living here. A material, which is ignored by people, becomes earrings, rosaries and other jewelry products,” he said.
He said he mixed the obsidian stone with silver in his studio and tried to increase the value of the products. “I use obsidian and silver together in all products made for women. There are some 2,500 spa centers in Turkey. Since volcanic glass keeps the heat, this material is used in these spa centers as spa stones. I also produce prayer beads for men,” he said.
“We prepare plaques and magnets using this stone. The plaques are used in memorial ceremonies of martyrs in our district. We carry out studies to see if we can use them in other fields. Our goal is to give the obsidian what it deserves. I receive a lot of positive feedback from local and foreign tourists in Sarıkamış. I also taught this art to 500 women. I hope they can make a living using this stone,” he added.