During his visit to the sūq of the old town of Damascus Albert Terhune (d. 1942) mentions the street of the silversmiths. He describes this as short and with a door that separated it from the main street. He also observes that the artisans did not make objects in their shops. Manufacture was undertaken in workshops located elsewhere. Silversmithing was largely done by Christians, with the skills being passed from father to son. Their work was known across the world and consisted of jewelry, cups, and ornaments, all of which were sold by weight. See also: goldsmith; gold and silver thread manufacturer; inlaid metal maker.
Citation: Terhune, Albert Payson, Syria from the Saddle: A Description of the Holy Land today, as seen through a young man’s Eyes (New York: Silver, Burdett and Co., 1896), pp. 45-46.
A report dating to 1899 records that silversmiths were operating in the Syrian capital. They produced a wide range of jewellery. See also: Goldsmith; Inlay Worker.
Citation: R. Oberhummer and H. Zimmerer quoted in Kalter, Johannes, “Urban Handicrafts”, in Kalter, Johannes, Margareta Pavaloi, and Maria Zerrnickel, eds. The Arts and Crafts of Syria: Collection Antoine Touma and Linden-Museum Stuttgart (London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1992), p. 64.
Date: c. 1990
The craft of the silversmith has declined to near extinction by c. 1900. This can be attributed to complex layers of social, economic, and cultural changes, including the fact that silver has lost its importance as a reserve currency. Silversmithing in Damascus was practised almost exclusively by Christians. The primary work of silversmiths was repair work, or the selling silver jewelry and antiques to tourists and antique shops. One of the unique silver products of Syrian craftsmen is nielloed jewelry, which was produced by Damascene silversmiths in Tekiya. This style of silver jewelry catered to tourist demands. See also: Goldmith; Inlay Worker.
Citation: Kalter, Johannes, “Urban Handicrafts”, in Kalter, Johannes, Margareta Pavaloi, and Maria Zerrnickel, eds. The Arts and Crafts of Syria: Collection Antoine Touma and Linden-Museum Stuttgart (London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1992), pp. 76-78.