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Indian Diamonds for Mediterranean Coral

A Global Armenian Family Firm of Gem Merchants at the Crossroads of Caravan and Maritime Trade (Ca. 1670-1730)

Indian Diamonds for Mediterranean Coral

Photo: Throne "Diamond," 1659. © Museums of the Moscow Kremlin "State Regalia of the Moscow Tsardom" catalogue.

The Promise Armenian Institute at UCLA presents "Indian Diamonds for Mediterranean Coral: A Global Armenian Family Firm of Gem Merchants at the Crossroads of Caravan and Maritime Trade (Ca. 1670-1730)" by Dr. Sona Tajiryan. This lecture is co-sponsored by the UCLA Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History, the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR).

Wednesday, June 2, 2021
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

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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.

 

Sona Tajiryan

Sona Tajiryan is a postdoctoral fellow at the Promise Armenian Institute at UCLA. She completed her PhD at the UCLA History Department in September 2020 under the supervision of Dr. Sebouh Aslanian. Her dissertation, entitled “The Early Modern Global Trade of Diamonds and Gems: An Armenian Family Firm on the Crossroads of Caravan and Maritime Trade (ca. 1670-1730)” analyzes the early modern global luxury commodity trade of diamonds and gems conducted between the Indian Subcontinent and the Mediterranean during 1670s and 1730s. As a fellow at the Promise Armenian Institute, Dr. Tajiryan currently works on her first book project based on her dissertation.


Sponsor(s): The Promise Armenian Institute, Center for Near Eastern Studies, UCLA Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History, National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR)