Pitch Dark Mystery in Tashan
Nature contains very special gift for human being within itself. It hides this gift in its depths; because, it knows the more a person tries to find something the more valuable is the thing which s/he found.
- Nurefşan Akcan
Since their existence, human beings have found these special and mysterious gifts of the nature and they have been fascinated with their spells. These gifts of the nature have become a symbol of civilizations, victories, defeats, love, suffering, reconciliation, separations throughout the history. The nature has a different and unique gift in any geography. For instance, India is the homeland of Ruby; Sapphire is the “eye of God” in the ancient Egypt. Emerald was the intermediary between Gods and people in ancient Greece. Anatolia has hosted to many jewelry and jewelry dealers throughout the history. These civilizations have carefully crafted valuable stones in Anatolia and they have created many marvelous works.
Oltu stone is the nature’s gift to Erzurum. You are almost charmed when you enter into the historical Rüstem Pasha Caravanserai in the city center. That pitch dark, bright black stone has been formed into so many shapes. Elegant necklaces, rings which are the symbol of love and loyalty, rosaries which excite the belief in each bead…
This stone is waiting to be found below the ground and then it is carefully extracted by the experienced hands. Its essence is the fossil of the juniper. The mystery of the stone working has been inherited from the master to the apprentice and from father to son. In their single workshops, there are sons who achieved the mystery of this stone and they are now called “master” (usta in Turkish): Oltu stone master. It is not easy to become Oltu stone master. Because this stone becomes harder as it contacts with air and so Usta should be swift-handed. It wants to be treated with delicacy and if not, it will immediately break; therefore, the craftsmanship also requires patience.
There are also some secrets for its owner as well as those for its master: Oltu stone shines as anyone touches it. When you buy a rosary made from oltu stone, the more you count your beads; the more the rosary shines. The jewelry made from oltu stone becomes more beautiful as you wear it. It seems as if it was not just a stone but a child whose eyes were shining when s/he attracted attention! One final thing is: the historical Rüstem Pasha Caravanserai in which dozens of Oltu Stone shops are placed is shortly called “Taşhan” here. The way to achieve the mystery of Oltu Stone passes through Taşhan.