Nazo

Training as a Jewelry Designer

Rahima prepares the basic shape of a silver bracelet.

She says:

„In the NAZO center I learned to become a master jeweller. Master Saber appointed me to become his assistant. I am proud of it - and I take even greater pains now. I don't want to disappoint him. What I wish for my future? We should establish a jewelry workshop - then we could all go on working together. It is a male profession - and to take root there is very hard. But we women – together– yes, that's how we could make it.“

Rahima today is trainer for basic skills.

Jewelry Design

This profession is highly acknowledged in the Afghan society and guarantees financial independence. It is very demanding and requires certain skills. The profession of jewelry design traditionally consists of two handicraft trades: Gold/Silversmithing and gemstone manufacturing.

In the NAZO center a silversmith and a gemstone manufacturer teach the students. Here the students learn everything important about the gemstones of Afghanistan, their processing to jewelry, but also to belts, bags, wall hangings etc. Our students are the first female jewelry designers of Afghanistan. They combine their silver jewelry with gleaming gemstones: dark blue Afghan Lapiz Lazuli; blue-green Iranian Turquoise; brownish red Karneol, bottle-green Serpentine, ebony-black onyx etc. They learned from Northern Afghan women to create pearl necklaces. Until today 45 female jewelry designers have been trained. Visit our website: www.afghan-design.com

The Silversmiths

The section of gemstone- and pearl necklaces

Gemstone manufacturing

In blazing sun the silver jewelry gains the most beautiful gloss.

The goldsmith Saber comes once a week and teaches the students who already have some basic skills. 

He says:

„I have been working as a jewelry master for about 20 years now. I am very satisfied with the students here. Of course they are differently talented. I hope that they will have learned about 50% from the area of silver- and gemstone processing until the end of the training. Jewelry design is a very demanding profession. But I can say, that I do not know any jewelry master who is a 100% expert - I would classify myself at 70%. A master learns a lifetime. Lots of work and excercise - that's how you can extend your knowledge."

Background

Traditionally a master has 1-3 assistants, almost always these are his own children or their cousins. Only in rare occasions a master takes on a stranger as assistant. These students work up to 10 years for their master and take over his craftsmanship. Normally the master does not teach his students, especially if they are not his own children. The student must look over the shoulder of the master to take on his knowledge and skills.

The master has a general antipathy to give his skills to the students. His envy towards the students is a long history in Afghanistan and meanwhile it is accepted as given. This envy sometimes is so strong that the master does not even take on a student.
Against this background it was very hard to engage teachers for the jewelry section. Adding to this is the fact that men almost never work together with women - first of all because society separates men and women from each other, secondly men find it "beneath their dignity" to work together with women, let alone, teach them their craft.