EghtesadOnline: KhorasanRazavi mines includes more than 15 types of gemstones such as garnet, types of agates, turquoise, types of quartz, types of jasper, aquamarine and types of ruby.
“The jury panel of the World Crafts Council - Asia Pacific Region visited Mashhad in April and presented their assessment to senior experts of the council,” Khosrow Ebrahimi Nasrabadi, a professor of geology department of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad told ISNA in an exclusive interview.
He added that after WCC observed Mashhad potential in this field they decided to honor the city of Mashhad as World Craft City for gemstones.
Ebrahimi who is also a professor at Toronto University told that Mumbai and Bangkok which were the most nominations for world cities has been known our major rivals in this field.
He believes the global designation of Mashhad would help improve its economy and culture.
“A look on the history of precious stones shows that since thousands of years ago, Iranian people have been active in this field. Khorasan Razavi and Mashhad has traditionally been active in this field from the old times,” he added.
“Precious gemstones like agates and turquoise are found in the northeastern city of Mashhad. The city is also well-known for intricately-designed silver jeweler studded with rubies and emeralds,” he explained.
According to Ebrahimi, the city of Mashhad has always been active in the field of producing, processing and trading in precious and semi-precious stones. Mashhad precious stones, including agate and turquoise, are internationally recognized for their uniqueness in the world market.
“One of the important points of precious stones of Mashhad is the presence of a huge number of active people with advanced training, having academic centers as well as specialized laboratories of international standards, which led to the establishment and development of the only industrial cluster of Iranian Jewelry” he went on to say.
“The oldest and highest quality turquoise mine in the world which at least dates back to five thousand years ago located in Mashhad,” Ebrahimi who is one of Canadian Jewelers Association member in Iran said.
“On the other hand, religious beliefs in using stones such as in prayers have turned this city into the center of trading these types of precious stones,” he added
“Also most of the workshops of cutting and abrasion of Agate and Turquoise stones are placed in Mashhad. During the recent years, the government’s special attention to this sector in Mashhad as the industrial cluster of jewelry has given special position to this city,” the professor stated.
“The field of precious stones and related activities including turquoise placement, carving, calligraphy, ring metal work, inlay, fantasy cutting and etc has created lots of occupations for the people of the city,” he said
“Unfortunately we can never measure the exact value of exporting precious stones because we are unable to monitor the free trade market,” Ebrahimi added.
“A single-product economy based on oil prevents the strong presence of mine sector in the field of economy of the country,” he continued, “Gemstone is one of the profitable and job-making but unknown sources in our country that has accumulated huge profitable potentials in this country”
Mashhad is a metropolitan located in Northeast of Iran and it is the center of KhorasanRazavi province. It was also appointed as the “Capital of Islamic Culture” in 2017.