There are many gemstone mines in Mashhad, the center of Razavi Khorasan province and its surrounding cities. That is why one of the prospering handicrafts of this province is jewelry made of gemstones also known as “Mekhraj Kari”. Some of the most important gems are aquamarine, Agates, kinds of Quartz, Japer, Turquoise, Garnet and Zeolite amongst which Turquoise and Agate are the most popular. The specialists believe that no two pieces of Turquois are similar and, just like fingerprints, they are unique and do not match to each other. An interesting matter about Turquoise is that until a few decades before, they were used as seals. It is mentioned in a poem by Hafiz: “If, with the color of red cornelian, my tear be, what wonder / for like red cornelian, is the seal of the seal-ring of my eye.” Today the most important stone cutting workshops of Iran are located in Mashhad where tones of Agate and Turquoise stones are cut annually. Mashhad workshops are working by using both traditional and modern methods.
In the process of jewelry making from gemstones, all the steps including designing, manufacturing and other need both experience and skill but the most of making a piece from metal and gemstone is attaching the stone to the base. This part of the craft is called “Mekhraj Kari”, “Morasa’e Kari” or incrustation. Mekhraj Kari is the most important and sensitive part of the jewelry making that includes gemstones. In Mekhraj Kari, the stones are attached by different methods. Some of them are “Reili”, “Ghalamzani”, “Kaseh’e” and “Changi” for small gems and “Nabshi”, “Changi” and “Divareh’e” for large gems. In this craft, to keep the beauty and natural streaks of the gems no glue is used. To attach the gemstones, the base is designed so that it does not damage the gems. A bit of pressure can cause fraction, scratch or breaking of the gems. Mekhraj is applied on pieces of jewelry such as earrings, necklace, rings, brooches and etc. In 2018 Mashhad was registered as the global city of precious and semi-precious stones by the World Council of Handicrafts.