Cummings Foundation Grant Recipient

Indian Diamonds for Mediterranean Coral: A Global Armenian Family Firm of Gem Merchants at the Crossroads of Caravan and Maritime Trace (ca. 1670-1730)

NAASR UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies UCLA Promise Armenian Institute UCLA Richard Hovannisian Chair in Modern Armenian History

Click the picture to view the video on the UCLA Promise Armenian Institute YouTube channel.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021, at 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT
On Zoom and the UCLA Promise Armenian Institute YouTube channel ArmenianUCLA.

DR. SONA TAJIRIAN, Postdoctoral Scholar, UCLA Promise Armenian Institute

There are hundreds of archival sources from the late seventeenth century showcasing details about the involvement of New Julfan Armenian merchants in the early modern diamond and gem trade. While their role in the global trade of Iranian raw silk has been thoroughly explored, scholarly literature on Armenian merchants' engagement in the global diamond and gem trade is almost non-existent. At least three of the most famous family firms that originated in New Julfa, the Minasians, the Scerimans and the Guerakʻ-Mirmans, were actively involved in the trade of Indian diamonds and South Asian gems, such as rubies, emeralds, pearls, sapphires and others.

In this talk, Dr. Tajiryan will briefly explore the importance of family firms in New Julfan history, the main caravan and maritime trade routes and the global circulation of luxury commodities in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Through the lens of the commercial activities of the Minasian agents in the global exchange of diamonds and coral, this talk will situate New Julfans in the larger context of early modern Asian and global trade.

UCLA Promise Armenian Institute

National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR)
UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies
UCLA Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History

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