Monthly Archives: May 2012

Caring for Silver Jewellery

Coinciding with the launch of the Malakeh Collection, here is some information about caring for your silver jewellery, put together for us by Puja Bhargava Kamath of Lai.

Wear your jewellery as often as possible: jewellery tarnishes less when it is worn. The key to having silver jewellery look good for the longest time is not to wet it. If it does get wet, wipe with a soft dry cloth as soon as you can. Do not scrub or use detergent. Exposure to chemicals including perfumes is harmful, so best to spray perfume prior to putting on your jewellery. Chlorine and bromine in pools and hot tubs are particularly damaging to stones and metal so avoid wearing jewellery in the pool, tub or sauna. Store silver jewellery in re-sealable plastic pouches, zip-lock bags or soft cloth pouches. Each piece should be kept in an individual pouch to avoid scratches and …

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Carpet Motifs: A Beginner’s Guide

Scarab in a Qashqai rug

Nisha’s instruction was clear and simple: go and look for Caucasian rugs. My search led me to the warehouse of Memet Bozbay, an affable Kurdish carpet trader, whom I had led to believe that I was a professional buyer. He pulled out heaps of Armenian, Kurdish and Kazak rugs, many characterised by bold colours, high piles, and unusual motifs. Gesturing to one of them he commented, “And here, again, you can see the typical Caucasian dragon motif.”

I scanned the carpet’s field expecting to find a flamboyant dragon spewing fire, but I couldn’t make out anything at all resembling a dragon or a serpent. In the centre of the carpet there was, however, an interesting form that appeared somewhat insect-like. “You mean this thing in the middle that looks like a cockroach?” I asked innocently. The dealer gave me a puzzled look and hesitated to respond—he must have been struggling to …

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Tribal Carpets

"Wild Story" Gabbeh

Tribal carpets are almost the opposite of what one may visualize when they think of a carpet. They are abstract. They are spontaneous. They are naïve. They break rules. And most of all, they are personal expressions of the weavers, straight from the heart! Those from nomadic groups in particular are a fantastic potpourri of many diverse ethnicities, tribal lifestyles and indigenous customs.

There is no defined picture that the weaver is copying from… the picture is in the weaver’s heart, which slowly emerges and takes shape on warps strung around a makeshift loom, wefted and knotted in a colourful collage, one single row at a time! A small six by four foot carpet may have tens of thousands of knots and may take months (and sometimes years) to create. Patience and tenacity are two critical virtues each weaver had to be able to create such fantastic art! The end …

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  • Welcome to Arastan

    Arastan was an online store that curated rare and handpicked treasures from exotic bazaars along the ancient silk route. Unfortunately we ceased trading in early 2014.

    You can read about the reasons for closure.

    You can still browse some of the products we used to have via the category links above, although none of these are available for purchase.

    Relive our travels and stories by browsing our articles and archives from the menus below.

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