Turkmen jewels, which constitute a delicate art full of secrets and with a very long past, are also one of the most important elements of Turkmen culture, works of gold and silver produced by the Turkmen jewellers of the past have reached the present day as a masterpiece each. The manner in which precious stones were placed on them, their geometric shapes and the forms given to them cause feelings of amazement and admiration in those who look at them. The originality of Turkmen handicrafts is a distinct feature of Turkmen culture that sets it apart from the cultures of other nations.
The products of the Turkmen art of jewel-making not only embellish women but also convey various magical meanings which are believed to protect people who wear those jewels from the evil eye and from diseases. Although they did not know the properties of the stones they worked, the Turkmen jewel-making artists of the past believed that these stones had a beneficial impact on human health. They told the magical power of their products to those who bought them and ensured that they, too, believed in it, giving them strength, joy and hope. For this reason, jewels for Turkmen women have always been a source of moral strength.
Turkmen masters have not forgotten their art during the years that have passed; on the contrary, they have developed it a little bit more every day and have trained students who have surpassed them. Old masters, spending great labour together with their students, have produced more beautiful works every day patiently. For this reason, the works of Turkmen masters are fascinating and attractive to people today.
Turkmen jewels remind one of the Iran outfits of past warriors. The silver "Cuppa" which is shaped like a dome, the "Chekkelik" with its silver hangers running down to the cheeks, and the "Yeginlik" with a hanger on the back of the neck, remind one of a military headwear. The broad chest ornaments "Gulyaka", "Dagdan" and "Bukuv" with their silver "Apbases" are reminiscent of the chest armours of soldiers. The examples cited suggest that the female warriors referred to in ancient works may have lived in Turkmen territories. It has always been said that Turkmen woman helped his man in his fight with enemies. On this basis, it seems possible to accept the truth of the idea of the female warriors.
Turkmen silver masters produced various ornaments for children and horses as well as for women. They made knives, knife-handles and cases, wallets and bags. In addition to the jewel-making art, the carpets and rugs decorating the tents were also produced by Turkmen masters. The harmony of a woman’s jewels with the patterns on her dress was an expression of the master’s art.
In Turkmen society, woman has a special place, woman has always been treated with respect. The great Turkmen thinker and poet Mahdumkuli wrote praisingly about the beauty of woman.
The unbelievable beauty of Turkmen woman in her national dress, who is able to bring her clothes into a lyrical harmony with all kinds of ornament, reflects the magical whole ness of the Turkmen art of dress and jewelry.
The cuts of traditional Turkmen garments are a reflection of the way of life and the climatic conditions in Turkmenistan. Embroidery has an important place in these garments. The national dresses of women are ornamented with embroidery as well as decorations. Men’s clothes, too, have embroidery but are more simple. Ebroidery exists not only on clothes but also on table-cloths, handkerchiefs, bags, saddles, "dutar" cases, etc. The reasons for the emergence of these motifs of embroidery were certain religious beliefs, for example the need to be protected from evil spirits.
Turkmen national dresses for women and children are always embellished with ornated and precious stones and beads.
Decoration is not confined to clothes: such articles as the handles of swords and daggers, and whips, are also decorated with precious stones.
In the past, decorations had a special meaning. They signified the age, family, tribe and social status of those who used them. These ornaments and jewels displayed differences from tribe to tribe in the course of time. Whether a woman was married or not and what tribe she belonged to could be told from her dress and ornaments. There are efforts today to protect and maintain this tradition.