If you come to Istanbul one fine day, don’t forget to visit the last and unique hand engraver, Berç Melikyan, at Ata Sarayı Inn in Cağaloğlu. He has continued to keep his art alive for 40 years in Turkey.
Although Berç Melikyan humbly describes his profession as engraving the gemstones by an iron pencil without using any machines, it is not so easy and simple. Being loyal to 1000 years of traditions and %100 hand engraving distinguishes himself from the engravers thought to be 3 in the world; and makes himself the unique representative of his art. Master Berç, who contributes priceless value to gemstones, inspirits his works by engraving 1 percent of millimetre at every turn; and integrates the gemstones the soul which is combined by his own soul and the soul of his customer. In addition, the state of his works being still unable to be imitated shows the worth of his own art.
Plenty of national and international statesmen, artists, actors, actresses, businessmen and jewellers, also universities wear and follow the works of Berç Melikyan. However master Berç has never changed his contented and humble behaviour within the framework of old traditions to money or fame.
Berç Melikyan ,who is on the list of the World’s Gold Council among the jewellers who should be visited in İstanbul; and whose name has been applied to UNESCO in order to be added to the list of “Living Human Treasures”, has given works to most exhibitions and suchlike activities in the world. Moreover, it is globally known that his works are sold easily more than 30-40 thousand dollars by prominent brands in the international market.
When asked how much his works cost, he slightly bows his head and smiling shyly he says “I have never exchanged my art with money, those prices – profits are far away to me; I earn my living of my art”. Stating that he transfers the culture of the living museum Istanbul, he created a masterpiece collection composed of 45 pieces to celebrate his 40th year of art. “I want to show Istanbul, Turkey and world to the future generations from the eye of a craftsman” says Melikyan and adds “I want future generations to understand today’s culture through a hand engraver’s eyes since we say ‘what amazing things they did’ when we look back.”
If you happen to pass by Istanbul, I recommend you not to skip visiting this labour of heart with his humble soul and shining eyes of art passion. It is a great privilege to own any of globally admired gemstones he engraved with 1000 years old tradition from first hand.