Firuzehkobi or Turquoise Inlaying
Firuzehkobi is the art of inlaying tiny pieces of turquoise stone on different objects such as dishes, jewelry, and other various decorative objects beautifying and ennobling them.
Products: dishes, vases, trays, and Samavars (heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water for tea making)
Place of origin: Isfahan and Mashhad, Iran.
Materials: turquoise pebbles, gold, silver, copper, and bronze objects, and walnut color lacquer.
The process of turquoise inlaying is a long and complex procedure which requires several steps such as zargari, which is the making the metal objects or the working surfaces, inlaying the turquoise pieces on the surface, and finally polishing the artwork.
Once the desired working surface (the object to be inlaid) is prepared by the goldsmith, the object is heated to 30 degrees Celsius.
Then, specific sections of the surface are covered with walnut color lacquer and inlaid with the chosen turquoise pebbles in a mosaic-like pattern.
Next, the artisan sands, smoothens, shines, and polishes the inlaid parts. It is now that the turquoise obtains an alluring sky-blue color, and the lacquer turns to the dark brown seen between the pebbles.
For the final Firuzehkobi step, the artwork is polished once again; first, the metal section is polished by using Magnetic Abrasive Finishing (MAF), then the inlaid sections of the artwork are shined with olive or sesame oil.
History and background:
Turquoise is a gemstone of astonishing elegance that has been mined in Iran for over 2000 years. The Nishapur turquoise mine is extracting gorgeous turquoise pebbles known all over world.
The stunning art of Firuzehkobi was invented about 70 years ago by a creative artisan, master Joseph Hakimiyan, in Mashad, Iran. The art was brought to Isfahan by a craftsman named Haj Dadash. Currently, Isfahan is the major city for producing turquoise handicrafts.