Armenian Jerusalem
   Armenians have earned for themselves a distinction as great artisans. Whether it's ceramics, pottery, photography or jewelry, the product of their handiwork always excels. Among the Armenians of Jerusalem, the art of turning gold and precious stones into works of art has been unparalleled. Melkon Babigian stands out as one of the most prominent kaghakatsi goldsmiths and jewellers. In his heyday, his was the ultimate in precious metals and stones perfection, and he wielded his expertise with astute savvy. But later generations would outdo his virtuosity, with their more daring and inspirational handiwork. Some of them, like Setrag Hagopian, would receive their apprenticeship at the hands of the great maestro, Garo Guloyan. Setrag was born in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City - his father, Abraham, (the "king of wool") was a prosperous merchant and the family of eight moved to a mansion he had bought in West Jerusalem, only to flee seek sanctuary in the Old City when the 1948 Arab Israeli war broke out. In Guloyan's workshop, in the cobblestoned alleys of Jerusalem, Setrag found it hard at first and had to struggle to hone the skill and nurture the creativity that would come into full fruition later when he set up his own business in Sydney, Australia. But his initiation into the Australian goldsmith and jewellery industry came after much travail and trepidation. Like most other migrants, he had to take up whatever job was on offer before he could find his niche in the Lucky Country he had come to. One of the first jobs he undertook was to pain some walls. Although he knew nothing about painting, aside from moving a brush up and down, he managed to get less paint on his overalls than he did on the walls. His supervisor was not amused. "You are no painter," he proclaimed. "I am a designer," Setrag replied. The supervisor could only gape. He was not the first or last one to be rendered speechless by Setrag who would soon come into his own, and indulge his creativity in coaxing breathtaking shapes of gold and jewellery, to a long list of satisfied customers.