The majority of those sales came from the manufacture and export of mass-produced goods, a category in which Turkey has long excelled and which will continue to be a strong staple of the industry. However, much of the future growth – targeted at a 5 billion dollars annually in 10 years’ time – is expected to come from the sales of branded designer jewelry, a growing part of production. “Turkish jewelry manufacturers are transforming themselves to be fine-jewelry manufacturers rather than just mass producers,” explains Tulin Bozkurt, marketing coordinator for Rotaforte International Trade Fairs and Media, producers of the Istanbul Jewelry Show. Ms. Bozkurt emphasizes this point by pointing out that just recently her trade show included a Turkish designer jewelry pavilion for the first time. The show is also expanding to five days to four, another sure sign of healthy growth.
To support the industry’s new direction, leaders are moving on two fronts. On one, they are boosting the type and quantity of vocational training. For example, the Istanbul Chamber of Jewelers (IKO) and the World Gold COuncil (WGC) have teamed up to sponsor design training programs at six universities and several secondary schools. The goal here, Mr. Akman explains, is to make Turkey ‘the global leader in jewelry design trends.” In a country that measures its jewelry and design heritage in thousands, not hundreds, or years, reaching a goal like that seems to be a reasonable business target.