Art is a fine industry in Iran and is famous for its unique handicrafts. There are presently nine million Iranians, involved in the production of handicrafts and other rural industries like Persian carpets, Kilim & Jajim, hand–made and hand-painted glassware and ceramics, pottery items and jewellery making. Popular souvenirs to buy while visiting Iran are listed below.
Persian Carpets – The dazzling beauty and excellent quality of Persian carpets is well known all over the world. They are available in many designs, sizes, colors and can be made from wool or silk or a combination of both. Designs and patterns can vary as each region of the country has its own variation and custom of weaving. The women of nomadic tribes living in the plains mainly weave Gilims
Qalamzanī – is one of the traditional engraving handicrafts that dates back over hundreds of years. Engraving is done on different metals such as copper, brass, silver or gold among other alloys. To engrave, first the back side of the work is covered by tar to prevent the work from causing a lot of noise, as well as getting punctured as a result of the hammering. Then the chosen designs or patterns are engraved on the work by different chisels. After the engraving is done the tar is removed from the work and the chiseled area is covered with charcoal powder and black lubricating oil. Finally the work is wiped clean and the black lines of the engraved designs appear on the surface of the work.
Khatam – khātam kārī or inlaid work, is one of the graceful Iranian handicrafts that is utilized to coat boxes, cases and frames. The origin of the name may come from the fact that in one centimeter of ‘Khātam’ more than 200 pieces of wood, metal and bone are employed-something which demands a great deal of dexterity, precision and patience. Tiny triangles of wood, bones (camel’s and ivory), metal (gold, silver, copper and brass), glue and tools such as thin saws and files are among the typical items utilized in making of “Khātam’.
Mina – is one of the most traditional enamel handicrafts of Iran whose origin dates back to around 2000 B.C. Enameled working is done through two different methods; the first method is to turn the colors into soft powder and mix them with water and glycerin, and then solve them on a glass surface and finally drawing the desired design on the object, just like an ordinary water color painting. In the second method, however, the colors are mixed with pine tree ink and the objects are painted using oil color technique. In both methods the enameled objects are heated on an alcohol burner to burn the ink, before putting them in the kiln. Next the enameled objects are glazed and put back in the kiln again. The necessary tools for this craft are: kiln, clamp, pliers and brush. Esfehān is the chief center of this enameled work.