Turkish jewelry industry seeks young talented designers
Creative vacancy
Published: Jul 07, 2022 05:40 PM
A female designer presents her handmade jewelry in Turkey. Photo: VCG

A female designer presents her handmade jewelry in Turkey. Photo: VCG

For a while, a time-honored jewelry brand in Istanbul, Turkey, has found it difficult to fill the vacancy of the in-house designer as paychecks asked by qualified candidates are too high.

Serdar Senyuz, manager of Prestige Jewelry, a local made-to-order brand with clients across the globe, said they were seeking a designer capable of creating unique pieces who would put the company in a more competitive position.

"A big challenge facing the sector is to find qualified personnel. We are in great need of competent staff, and that is something you can hear all around us in the industry," he told Xinhua while supervising production at an atelier in Kuyumcukent, a hub of Turkey's jewelry industry.

His company once reached a young talented designer who graduated from the jewelry design department of an Istanbul university, and offered a monthly salary of 20,000 Turkish liras (about $ 1,200), the highest they can afford, but was rejected as it was below her expectations.

They then had to move a staff member from its textile branch to the vacancy and taught him the entire design and production processes.

Senyuz said many competent designers prefer either to start their own business or to try their luck abroad, especially in Italy, where the jewelry design career abounds in opportunities.

Leaders in the business "need to sit down and think about how they can divert young people to this job and make them love what they are doing," Senyuz added.

In Mustafa Gurdamar's opinion, who founded the company 35 years ago, "a jeweler does not sell gold but her endeavor. We take the raw material, give a shape to it, and sell our artisanship."

Yazgi Eravutmus, a young industrial designer and business owner in Istanbul, explained to Xinhua why many jewelers opt for an independent designer career instead of working for prestigious local brands.

"In some gold jewelry manufacturers, there are many voices constantly stepping in your designs," she said.

"They either find your designs too expensive, or they simply do not like them, saying that no one would buy such products, which restrain us to a great extent," she added.

Some local jewelry firms "put the creators in a tiny frame, and the person who works there becomes an illustrator, not a designer," she lamented.

"Design is a field that requires rich imagination. When you can't do that, you're stuck," noted the young designer.

According to local media reports, Turkey's annual average gold consumption is approximately 200 tons, while its production level remains at around 40 tons. Business insiders say the remaining 160 tons in demand are covered by imports.

Turkey's gold production by the end of 2021 was estimated to have surpassed the record high level made in the history of the year in 2020, as local report Anadolu Agency noted.

As early as in 2021, the country had decided to extract nearly seven tons of gold from a newly discovered mine in the northwestern province of Bilecik when the production capacity reaches its peak in 2024, said the Demirören News Agency.