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The Majesty of the Khachkar

Armenian Art

The Khachkar, or Cross-stone, is one of the most well-known Armenian symbols, and is a common element in Armenian architecture and sculpture to this day. A decorative cross is the central element, and below this is typically an elaborate solar disk.

Armenian Art

These magnificent designs were carved into memorial steles and gravestones beginning around the 9th century A.D. Different motifs such as grapes, pomegranates, botanical patterns and biblical figures were often carved into the stele.

Armenian Khachkar

Khachkars are also commonly recognized by their intricate and wondrous interlacing.

The Cross-stone can have many meanings, but originally these impressive sculptures were carved to ensure the salvation of a person’s soul, and is intimately tied in with Armenian Christian beliefs. This is also why the design was used for gravestones, as it acted as a bridge between the human world and the divine. Religious figures often blessed the Khachkar and this was said to contribute to the sacred aura of the memorial. But aside from being strictly religious, the symbol was also believed to ward off natural disaster, and Khachkars were sometimes even constructed to celebrate a victory in battle.

While Khachkar carving reached its height between the 12th and 14th centuries, there has been somewhat of a revival in modern times, and there are still masters who are skilled at the art. The ancient techniques of craftsmanship are passed through family members or to an apprentice, which helps to keep the traditional methods alive. Every Khachkar is unique, and shows the individual style of the sculptor. There are about 40,000 Khachkars around the world today, mostly in Armenia.

 

Armenian Art

These beautiful cross-stone sculptures were definitely a huge influence here at Gugoco, and you can find the symbol carved into many of our pieces. We wanted to bring the majesty of the Khachkar to a modern audience, so we carved the symbol in our own unique style. Still, we never lost the original essence of the ancient sculptures in Armenia.  Ultimately, we hope to see this symbol influence the modern architectural world as well. As it was originally a prominent element in fortresses and other buildings, we think the intricate interlaced patterns of the Khachkar would make a beautiful contribution to urban design in the future.

 

Gugoco's Romantic "Ser" Collection

If you’ve been browsing our site lately, you might have noticed that our jewelry inventory has recently expanded. Our Ser Collection began with a few necklaces made of sterling silver and plated with 18K gold. We wanted to create a unique piece of romantic jewelry that drew from our Armenian heritage, but that could also be worn by anyone who wanted to try out a stylish new accessory. Recently, we decided to expand the Ser line extensively. Although you can still find Gold plated necklaces in our collection, we’ve added many new pieces crafted with pure 18K Gold.

We envisioned the Ser necklace to be a symbolic piece that captures the essence of romantic love. The design works on multiple levels; first and foremost the centerpiece is “Love” written in graceful Armenian lettering, which translates to “Ser.” We wanted to showcase the exquisite beauty of Armenian calligraphy in a modern, stylized way. The curves of the letters are at once strong and gentle, meant to evoke the subtle passion of devotion. On another level, the design also works as the pulse of a heartbeat, the gentle undulating waves of life and love.

 

The Ser design is a very versatile piece of jewelry. For instance, as a ring, Ser makes for a stunning engagement or wedding band.

The piece can also be adorned with diamonds, adding that extra touch of elegance. As a chain bracelet with a birthstone, it becomes a personal and luxurious fashion statement. As an 18K necklace or cuff bracelet, the piece is a touching anniversary gift, or makes a special statement for any amorous occasion.

Essentially, it doesn’t matter if the wearer or giver is Armenian or not. It’s equally as meaningful a gift to an Armenian woman or non-Armenian, and anyone can appreciate the luxury and subtlety behind the design.

The Beautiful Story of "Akhtamar"

Our “Akhtamar” iPhone has a unique story behind it. There is a well-known legend in Armenia about the tragic love between a Princess and a commoner. The story goes that they first met at a book market in town. The commoner didn’t realize she was the princess and so talked to her freely about the poetry he enjoyed. When they met again the next week, he gave her a poem he wrote, and they fell in love.

Unfortunately, marriage between commoners and royalty wasn’t allowed in ancient society. So every night, Princess Tamar lit a fire to guide her lover as he swam to the island where she lived. They met in the dark and were happy to be together, if even for a brief moment. Soon, however, the King discovered their tryst, and snuffed out the light. One night, when her lover tried swimming to the other shore, he lost his way. Without the light to guide him, he drowned in the darkness, screaming, “Akh, Tamar!”

To this day, the island of Akhtamar still exists on Lake Van in Turkey, and it’s said to be the ancient setting of the story. Legend has it that his tragic cries can still be heard. To commemorate the story, a statue of Tamar holding the fire to guide her lover is located on the shore of Lake Sevan in Armenia. It is this stunning statue that our iPhone design is based on.

Gugoco Akhatamar

This wonderful, hand-finished phone case is meant to capture the heart and beauty of this story. The graceful pose of Tamar holding the fire for her lover is etched intricately into the wood, and is a touching symbol of the power of devotion and romance.

 

Armenian iPhone Case

The design comes in walnut wood or cherry wood, and is hand-painted with brilliant colors of gold, red and cobalt blue. In crafting the iPhone case, we wanted to give the phone a modern, sleek look, but we also wished to keep some of the traditional essence and style of Armenian culture. The iPhone case makes a great gift for your partner, but it is also just a simply beautiful piece of art that captures this timeless legend from Armenia.

Ancient Armenian Traditions Come to Life

Armenian iPhone Case

You may have noticed that some of our iPhone and Android cases feature a beautiful and powerful Ancient Armenian symbol: The Tree of Life.

The Tree of Life is a prominent element of many religious and spiritual traditions throughout the world. It is an especially important part of Armenian culture, and is one of the main symbols found in ancient Armenian architecture and design. The symbol often appeared on soldier’s armor and was engraved into fortresses. Even the famous Khachkars, or Armenian Cross-Stones, are related to the Tree of Life symbol. These intricate religious steles found all over Armenia express the continuity of life in the same way as the fruitful tree.

On a personal level, the Tree of Life can be said to represent wisdom, strength, and courage. On a more societal or universal level, it represents abundance, peace and harmony. Religiously, the beautiful tree flourishing with fruit can represent the Garden of Eden and blissful paradise. To this day, the Tree of Life is still one of the most recognizable and powerful Armenian symbols.

We created the Tree of Life phone cases because we were inspired by the beauty of this Ancient Armenian motif. We wanted to develop a work of art that showcased the splendor of Armenian Tradition, but that was also sleek and modern. Thus, we designed our hand-painted and luxurious, walnut wood cases for the whole family to enjoy.

Our goal was to have the exquisite design highlight the unique style of the owner. Hand-finished phone cases are a rare novelty, and we wanted to create something that shows inimitable style and class. Available in gift-ready packaging, our Tree of Life iPhone and Android cases are a great accessory for anyone interested in the beauty of Armenian culture.

Qami Scarves

The Kehhiyeh (or Shemagh) is a well-known Middle-eastern scarf that has recently become a popular fashion trend within the past few decades. Our team at Gugoco was inspired to use the Kehhiyeh design and transform it into something uniquely Armenian, and this is how we came up with QAMI.

The QAMI scarf is a symbol of freedom. The name itself means “wind,” and we wanted to connect the spontaneity and movement of nature with the adventurous spirit of youth.

Each piece is decorated in calligraphy using the ancient Armenian alphabet, and a classic Armenian architectural element makes up the central pattern.

QAMI is a distinctive ethnic fashion statement in that it is the first Kehhiyeh-inspired scarf with ancient Christian and Armenian designs. The scarf is unisex and exceptionally warm and comfortable, traditionally inspired and traditionally made.

 

Qami Photo Shooting NYC

Keffiyeh, also known as Shemag, is a traditional middle-eastern garb that has lately become a fashion staple. We love it as well, but decided to reimagine it, giving it distinctly Armenian feel. While staying true to the iconic design features, we embedded it with elements ancient Armenian architecture and calligraphy. We called our new creation Qami.

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