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This stone was coined as ‘Oltu stone’ as it is mainly extracted in the county of Oltu and surrounding mountains in Anatolia. In the literature, this type is defined as ‘lignite processed with a type of metamorphism’ and ‘a compact mineral rich in bitumen’.  

In addition to the difficulty in its production due to its irregular underground accumulation in lenticular forms, it is difficult to foresee where and in which quantities the Oltu stone can be found.  

This coal variety hardens with its exposure to soft air at its time of extraction from ground layers and is mostly black with a colour range extending from greenish to brown and black. The stone is electrified via fraction and attracts lighter objects.

Oltu Stone carving is regarded to have been sustained in the area for 150-200 years and is one of the most important public handicrafts in Erzurum. At the same time, it is a form of public art handed down from father to son.

While Oltu Stone carvers purchase the crude stone from producers, they take into consideration such factors as the blackness of the stone, good polish reception, purity from foreign substances, length and smoothness (for mouth pieces) and the dark black (zil black) quality for the best reflection of light. 

Based on the characteristics of the designated object, the stone is hammered and prepared for carving. Stones to be stored for a while before carving are preserved in humid places or underground to avoid hardening. For carving, artists still use a simple hand lathe in the form of a grindstone called ‘kemane’ following the old tradition. Then, last modifications are made and the stone is glazed and polished. 

With a wide area of use, the Oltu stone is generally preferred in ornamented objects. In addition, it is also used in rosaries (tesbih), mouth pieces, pipes, badges, buttons and jewellery. These objects are the product of a collective work and a group of them is ornamented with such precious metals as gold and silver. 





Source: H.Gündoğdu-İrfan Gedik, Erzurum’da Oltu Taşı İşletmeciliği, Bilim Birlik Başarı derg. Y11 S42

   Hayati Doğanay, Erzurumda Oltu Taşı İşlemeciliği,4 Ulusal El Sanatları Semp. Bildirileri, DEÜ.GSF, İzmir,1985

   A. Acar, Kıymetli Mineraller, AÜ Ed.Fak. Araştırma derg.

   C. Köseoğlu , Oltutaşı, Yurt Ansiklopedisi C.4 S 2776

   E. Pınar,  Mühendislik Jeolojisi, s 105

   Y.Zengin, Oltu Yatakları, MTA derg. s 48, s 147-149
H.Zim.-P.Shaffer, The Rocks and Minerals

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