• Highlights Tour 10


Coffee-Cup Holder

Find this object in the India and Turkey 16th-18th century Gallery on Floor 3

This gold coffee cup holder, called a ‘zarf’ in Turkish, is made richly embellished with diamonds and rubies. Each gemstone has been carefully hand cut to fit into floral motifs by a master lapidary. This process was highly skilled and would have resulted in considerable wastage. Elaborate coffee-cup holders were used for the ritualised drinking of coffee popular through the centuries in Turkey, protecting the drinker’s fingers from the hot cup held inside.

JE.206.2008, Diamond & Ruby-Set Gold Turkey or Europe (probably Switzerland), 19th century

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