When you were 16 years old, you started as an apprentice in the Grand Bazaar. And Today, your labor and experiences in this rare profession account for almost half a century. Can we know more about Tuncay Belen and the namesake brand?
I’ve been doing this for many years. Being one of the few masters of engraving art in a historic environment, such as the Grand Bazaar, is underpinning the foundation of the process. The fact that I am doing this job that I learned in a mockery through the master-apprentice relationship is also an important factor in increasing my awareness in my environment. However, in recent years, our recognition has increased with the use of social media and the power of the Internet. No matter how good you are doing a job, if there is no marketing, you can’t keep people informed of your work. Unfortunately, you stuck into a vicious circle. In addition to my own business, I have a family that supports me. My son is managing social media and internet channels. In fact, the most important factor in the process of branding took place at this point. A website with various social media accounts and quality contents turned a man who has mastered in his workshop into a well-known brand.
What is engraving? Can you inform us about the roots of this craft, its historical development, and its current position?
Those who practice the incising a design onto objects such as silver, gold, steel, or glass by cutting grooves, writings and patterns with special tools in their hands, are called as engravers.
Engraving is a profession in jewelry. Engravers, who can process the desired pattern carefully on precious metals, convey their art with care for every work they do. Recent technological tools, and especially laser processing, are popular, but those who understand the value of art and the artist, give great importance to this profession, which dates back to centuries. The origin of this work is not the artificial carvings made with the machines, but the engravers who can transfer the manual labor to the metal.
Engraving is a profession in jewelry. Engravers, who can process the desired pattern carefully on precious metals, convey their art with care for every work they do. Recent technological tools, and especially laser processing, are popular, but those who understand the value of art and the artist, give great importance to this profession, which dates back to centuries.
Since engravers are the one who can process the desired pattern carefully on precious metals, what kinds of metal and stones do they choose when performing their arts? And Can you tell us about the materials and tools used?
We are working on gold and silver in general. In addition to this, carving on precious stones (such as agate) can be applied with engraving patterns. We work mostly on gold and silver with our engraving pens. Of course, there is a lot of auxiliary equipment besides that.
On the one hand, there is a craft that goes down to the depths of history, and on the other hand, there is a period in which technology and modernism are at their highest level. What kind of a role do you play when you reveal your works?
It is very important that we follow the technology and take advantage of it. There are many elements that facilitate our work. But most importantly, it is actually being able to do this job by keeping up with the present moment without losing the past. The basis of our business is drawing and transferring it to mines. When you are intertwined with so many drawings, the design phase is spontaneous. For example, we love letters a lot, and we are doing a great job with their combinations. It is also important to work with our customers and understand what they really want from us.
Let’s talk a bit about your works. Necklace, rings etc. What do you do? What are your product items?
Mainly, we work on things like necklaces and rings. However, we have designs for many products such as cufflinks, brooches, key holder. In addition, there are engraving and writing processes on demand for people’s own personal objects.
What was the most precious work you have done so far? and was the most outstanding order you have received?
In fact, all of these items are very valuable. We laboriously hew out these products. I once worked on the pen of the President of Azerbaijan, Mr.Aliyev, and then I worked on a wedge which was a give away for Saparmurat Turkmenbashi. We have many valuable works like this, we distinctly work in the same effort and care for each and every one of our customers.
How do you perform the selling and marketing of the products? Are there any offers from famous brands?
We mainly prefer to use online channels. We share the visuals of our products with daily or weekly shares. Again, we have ads over these online channels.
People from Turkey and Abroad are contacting us.
We make jewelry for people who can hand them down them to their grandchildren, and that’s actually what they love about it. Other than that, we are intertwined with jewelers because we have been in the Grand Bazaar for years. We also perform their works too. We haven’t cooperated with a brand yet, but we contacted several times to discuss such offers.
What do you do to hand down this rare craft and art to future generations in order not to protect it?
Engraving is a work that requires excessive labor and patience. I’m convinced that my children will protect my legacy after me. My son grew up a bit by working with me in the summers for many years and possessed a certain infrastructure of knowledge but now works in the private sector. Who knows, he may be will bring a new dimension to this job.