Silversmithing in Cyprus is an ancient art
The art of silversmithing has been known in Cyprus since ancient times. Metal manufacturing for the purpose of jewelry-making became an important craft during the Mycenaean period. Significant samples of Cypriot silverware go back to the Mycenaean, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods. Remarkable pieces found in various museums and in private collections show characteristics and techniques which are being used today.
Important jewelry, ecclesiastical and house utensils, were found in Cyprus during the early Christian period (engraved and perforated decorations with enamel). The famous treasures of Lambousa (currently under occupation) are excellent examples of early Byzantine art.
From the 17th – 19th century, the making of silverware was at its peak. Nicosia was the centre for the manufacturing of silverware but later on Lefkara and Milia also became important centers. In Nicosia craftsmen’s workshops were found in the well-known “silversmith’s street” which led to the Agia Sofia, now in the occupied part of Nicosia.
Nowadays, the silverware manufactured in Cyprus has many characteristics taken from silver jewelry and vessels found in museums. Contemporary silversmithing includes the production of ecclesiastical silverware such as vessels, gospel and icon covers, chalices, cherubims, oil lamps, reliquaries and others.
Silversmiths use various techniques, the most important of which are engraved, imprinted, perforated, wired, casted and casted perforated. The Cyprus handicraft Centre which is a part of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism collaborates closely with many private silver workshops and has undertaken the role of research and study of traditional silversmithing and its development into a contemporary art.