I love exploring various craft techniques. I find those which represent cultural traditions particularly appealing. This time I came across an article about stunning Persian handicraft Firuzehkubi. It’s only when you take a closer look at how those beauties are made, when you realize how amazing the craft is.
Firuzehkubi – the turquoise marvels
Firuzehkubi is also spelled as as ‘Firooze kubi’ or ‘Firuze kubi’. It is an art of decoration of various objects with tiny pieces of turquoise.
In fact, the word ‘firuzeh’ is translated into ‘turquoise’ and means ‘the stone of happiness and love’. According to the local legends turquoise stones are made of bones of those who died of love. I find it a little bit tragic!.
Turquoise stones are typically laid on the surface of copper objects. However, they may also be embellished onto brass, silver, bronze, or nickel. Most commonly, artisans use firuzehkubi to decorate containers such plates, trays, vases, bowls or caskets. You will also find jewelry made with this technique.
It takes time and patience to create firuzehkubi marvels. The first step is the preparation process. This is when the object is cleaned, and a mosaic motif is created by soldering a thin wire to shape the design. Then the artisan would heat the object to roughly 30 degrees Celsius and apply special gum powder onto the heated surface. The powder melts and acts like a glue.
The embellishment part of the process starts. Crafters would apply pieces of turquoise manually next to each other to fill in the shaped area. Naturally, some gaps between inlaid stones will remain so the object is re-heated and gum powder reapplied onto those spaces. Smaller turquoise gems are now inserted into the holes.
There are still tiny gaps remaining, that cannot be covered with turquoise stones. Those are subsequently filled with blue mortar. In the last step, the object is sanded and polished for a shiny blue look. Nowadays, the embellished areas may also be coated with a thin layer of polyester to better preserve the surface.
Interestingly, the gems that are used for firuzehkubi decorations are leftovers obtained form workshops and stone grinders. These turquoise chips are not suitable to be used elsewhere. What a phenomenal way to reduce waste!
Of course, the more fancy and sophisticated mosaic, the more expensive the object is. But if you think about the amount of time and patience it takes to create each one of them you will understand why!
More Persian wonders…
I hope you learned something new today and appreciate the beauty of handmade firuzehkubi marvels. But there are many more fantastic Persian crafts, which you may find interesting. Check out this post if you wish to explore the topic more!