Iranian handicrafts: crystal carving  

August 8, 2021 - 19:30

TEHRAN - Crystals have long been created in Iran to captivate human attention with their enigmatic mysterious beauty. Carving crystals is one of the most original and common methods of decorating crystal works tracing back to the Achaemenid era (c. 550 – 330 BC).

Sassanid artists were also very skillful to do so. Experts say the art of making crystal works in the Islamic era was highly influenced by the works from ancient Iran.

However, what today we refer to as carving glass and crystal in Iran began in 1935 when a crystal factory was established and went through many ups and downs during the time, according to Visit Iran.

In this artistic process, diverse designs are carved onto crystal pieces using specific stones that are harder than the production and elevates it to another level. Today the carving is done using small electric machines with round stone discs that rotate.

The speed of the rotation of the disks depends directly on the kind of carves. The faster the rotations of the discs are, the deeper the carves will be and on the contrary, the slower the rotations, the shallower the carvings will be. Also, by changing the thickness of the stone disc, hand movement, and duration, the form, and depth of the carving change, too.

In the art of crystal carving, first, the points where the intended design is to be applied are marked, then the carver holds the product close to the engraving machine and carves the markings. Finally, the carved points are burnished.

The designs used in carving are mostly inventive and made from memory, and are inspired by the personal thought of the carver. They mostly include paisley, “Gol e Gandomi”, geometric and arabesque motifs such as six angle stars, “Shamseh” or sun, etc.

Today, in addition to crystal carving by engraving machines, there is another method. It uses a machine called milling to apply the carves. The designs created by the milling machine are not deep due to the construction of the machine. Alborz province is one of the most important centers of producing crystal carvings in Iran, and some of these products are kinds of jars, glasses, bottles, luster chandeliers, bowls, plates, and other elaborate serving dishes.

AFM

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