Turkey holds a leading position amongst the jewellery exporting countries in the world. A large manufacturing base with affordable labour along with an increasing number of designers has helped Turkey in becoming an important jewellery making centre. Besides, the country’s important geographical location helps bridging East and West, making it an important distribution and re-export centre. Turkey’s jewellery industry received a huge boost with government decisions taken in the early 1980s to liberalize the gold trade and foreign exchange, according to the Turkish Jewelers Association (TAJ). The TAJ promotes the export of Turkish jewellery, advances the interests of the Turkish jewellery sector internationally, and supports the activities of the Turkish jewellery export sector. Turkish jewellery exports touched $7.2 billion in 2018, exceeding the previously set goal of $6 billion. The country exports jewellery to UK, United Arab Emirates, the U.S., Hong Kong and Switzerland. The mark Turkey has left globally as far as its jewellery is concerned is inimitable. With craftsmanship at par with its European manufacturers, it has managed to keep competitors at bay with its low prices.
Market Potential & Craftsmanship
According to the Turkish Trade Government, there are more than 50 major companies in which 200-1500 qualified workers are employed. The industry is a huge one amongst the Turkish manufacturing industries and employs about 2,50,000 people currently. Traditional Turkish jewellery making techniques include filigree (telkari), niello (savat) and wickerwork (hasir). Filigree is a technique in which the artist creates motifs by soldering together fine silver or gold wires. Since the wire used is often extremely delicate, this technique requires an almost infinite degree of patience. The niello technique is based on tiny, delicately-worked pieces of handpainted enamel which are partitioned by precious metals. In wickerwork, another technique used by Turkish jewellers, delicate wires are woven together.
Istanbul Jewelry Show is referred as the bridge between European and Middle East markets. The biannual show takes place in March and October. The October 2019 edition saw a 12 per cent increase in the number of international visitors. Istanbul Jewelry Show plays an important role to Turkish Jewelry Industry reach its 2019 export target of USD 6 billion and March and October Exhibitions of Istanbul Jewelry Show broke its own record by hosting over 50 thousand jewellery buyers in 2019.
Love for Gold
Much like India, the Turkish people love gold. It’s second nature and plays an important role in their cultural milieu. In the third quarter of 2019, global tensions led to an upward movement in global gold prices, however, Turkey recorded the highest purchases in gold in this period and reached 385.5 tons in total gold reserves. According to WGC’s Gold Demand Trends report for the third quarter, while worldwide demand for gold continued to increase, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) came to the fore among the world’s central banks with largest amount of gold purchased in the third quarter. The world gold council released a report on World Gold Holdings, which stated that Turkey holds 415.2 tonnes of gold, ranking number 14, in the list of countries that reserves gold.
According to Euromonitor, China declared 2018 Turkish Tourism Year, which boosted the number of Chinese inbound tourists to Turkey in 2018 and into 2019. After a lackluster performance in 2017, jewellery recorded much improved retail value growth figures in 2018/2019, supported by this initiative. The report also stated that product placement in Turkish soap operas such as Yasak Elma and Ufak Tefek Cinayetler is a key marketing tool. Manufacturers such as Gülaylar Altin, Altinbas and Assos ve Atasay have begun to work closely with media channels to promote their products in the most effective way possible. Endorsements by celebrities and influencers remained important parts of the marketing mix in 2018/2019, with jewellery players using these endorsements for limited periods to position their brands as trendy. In 2018, the leader in jewellery, Atasay Kuyumculuk, collaborated with a popular social media influencer, Seyma Subasi, launching a special line which was supported by the celebrity.