Historical bazaar culture and contemporary malls offer gorgeous jewels to buy when shopping in Istanbul. On the other hand, museums and palaces exhibit even more unique ones if the purpose is not commercial. So let us discover Istanbul and its jewels in all aspects.

Development of the Culture

The economic prosperity of both the Byzantium Empire and later the Ottoman Empire has helped this art form to develop. As the power of the Ottoman Empire expanded, access to precious stones and metals became easier. People with expertise, coming from the expanded borders of the empire, have enriched this profession.

Works of Greek, Armenian and Caucasian craftsmen in the Ottoman Empire further synthesized the eastern and western cultures. Crafts of people with different origins formed a unique style of Istanbul Jewelry.

Today, Istanbul offers a different form of this art. Lapidaries craft their unique hand-made ornaments against mass-produced ones around the world. As the continuation of Ottoman culture, jewelers still perform their art with finesse. And the historical bazaar culture still offers exclusive jewelry to its visitors.

Importance of Jewels

It is hard to separate Ottoman palace culture from jewelry. The most magnificent ones are those prepared for the Sultans. But their usage is still widespread among ladies of the palace and government officials. Out of the palace, they were still important in the everyday life of a resident. Yet not as fancy as the ones used in the palace. Even today, the tradition of exchanging gold and jewels at weddings more or less supports its production.

Museums with Jewelry In Istanbul

Unfortunately, many Ottoman jewels could not survive until today. A lot of them were exchanged in times of need for money. Especially the most unique and valuable ones were stored in the empire's treasury. Besides their unfortunate faith, there are still many mesmerizing pieces to see in Istanbul.

Museums with famous jewelry to see are;

Topkapı Palace

Located in the historical peninsula, Fatih is one of the most iconic places in Istanbul. Built-in 1478, yet expanded with additional structures until the 19th century. After exploring the structures and the political and cultural history behind them, it is time to visit the inner displays. A variety of Jewelry and their stories about what makes them unique are awaiting.
Sultans and residents of the palace are well known for their fondness for jewels. There are several order notes in archives of the state, from the palace to different jewel makers. Which are;

  •  Pins with emeralds.

  •  Hair clips adorned with diamonds.

  •  Bookcases with gold and silver ornaments

These orders demonstrate the importance of Jewelry in the Ottoman Empire. Jewels were not just ornaments as a whole but used on different items. The work and efforts of a craftsman could make a single hairpin unique. An insignificant daily tool became valuable using precious metals and gems. Not only valuable in price but valuable both culturally and spiritually.

While you discover Istanbul, you should also discover Topkapı Palace to learn how these artifacts become a treasure with jewelry. Further peerless items to see in the palace are;

  •  Spoonmaker’s Diamond

  •  Dagger of Mehmet IV.

  •  Signet Ring of Abdulhamid I.

  •  Qur’an Case

  •  Jade Thumb Ring

You can reach there by using Bağcılar - Kabataş tram line.

Sadberk Hanım Museum

The private museum of Sadberk Hanım displays pieces from Sadberk Koç’s collection. Even before the Ottoman Empire, interesting jewels and artifacts could be found in this museum. You can reach there by using the M2 line with the subway.

Palace Collections Museum

The primary purpose of this museum is to display everyday items used in the palaces of Istanbul. The amount of jewelry used on these items can be fascinating to see. You can get there by using any bus going to Kabataş.

Jewelry Shopping in Istanbul

Exhibited jewelry in museums is not for sale, but many places to buy them. All can be found from a historical bazaar to a modern exhibition, a local shop, to a grand store. As this culture is widespread, shopping in Istanbul can be handled easily. 

Best places to discover Istanbul Jewelry are;

Grand Bazaar

When it comes to shopping in Istanbul, Kapalıçarşı is the first place to visit. This historical bazaar, also known as Grand Bazaar, is full of Jewelry stores and shops. Most of them are located on the main street of this bazaar and are very easy to identify. However, there are also gold and silver shops on the alleys for more plain preferences.

However, when you take a step to discover Istanbul, you should also discover Kapalıçarşı. There are still stores to find and visit in this historical bazaar beside the ones on the main street. Each with unique crafts, tiny shops are spread across the place. You may find the most unexpected and different jewel in an isolated store. Kapalıçarşı offers a cultural and historical journey through shopping. You can reach it by using the Kabataş - Bağcılar tram line or by bus to Beyazıt.


Eventually, there will be a time to step out of the historic bazaar. Then discover Istanbul to see what else it offers about jewelry. Shopping in Istanbul can be done with hundreds of grand shopping malls all around the city. Stumbling upon a more industrialized shop is more likely, yet it is still possible to find variety. A lot of malls have different types of shops. From hand-made jewelry to international brands, these malls will satisfy any visitor;
 İstinye Park - Sarıyer

  •  Cevahir AVM - Şişli

  •  Mall of İstanbul - Başakşehir

  •  Forum İstanbul - Bayrampaşa

  • Istanbul Jewelry Show

If you want a more modern experience, the best place to visit is the Istanbul Jewelry Show. This limited-time exhibition is being held at Istanbul Expo Center in Bakırköy. International Jewelry makers, buyers, and companies are all coming together at this fair. In addition, huge communities and professionals offer a wide variety of jewels. You can get there by using the exhibition’s shuttles.


Frequently Asked Question

When was the Topkapi palace built?
In 1478.
Where can I buy the most authentic oriental jewelries in Istanbul?
At the Grand Bazaar.
What are the best luxurious malls in Istanbul?
Cevahir AVM, Emaar Square Mall, Forum Istanbul etc.
What is the biggest influence on Turkish jewelery-making?
The Ottoman Empire.