In the eighteenth century, the village Soghomon in the Erzurum province of western Armenia was the landing place for large caravanserais. Caravans from the East: Iran, India, China, as well as the West would stay there overnight. That was why the small town resembled a large lodging, with great commotions at its market in the evenings.
The sacred village Soghomon was also known as a multi-ethnic settlement, with permanent residents from Mesopotamia, Iran, the Arab world, and European countries։ France and England. The inhabitants were mainly engaged in trade. An old man, Vartan, lived and served in the apostolic St.
Hakob church located in the village. At the same time, the man was the bell-ringer of the church, which is why he was called bell-ringer (jamhar) Vartan. Vartan would cultivate rosemary, which he used for obtaining modern-day incense to be smoked in churches. Being in love with his work, he cultivated fragrant flowers and plants, and obtained essential oils from them. Vartan and his work were so popular that people from distant villages and regions would attend St. Hakob church to personally communicate with Vartan and acquire the essential oils he made. Initially, Vartan was presenting the oils to the church, the believers’ community, his friends and acquaintances. Afterward, in the late 1740s, Samvel, the son of Vardan, an ambitious young man, persuaded his father to increase the volume of the essential oils he produced and sell them on the market. Simultaneously, Samvel acquired flowers and plants from caravans coming from the west and the east, which allowed to expand the range of the products.
The products made by bell-ringer (jamhar) Vartan were called “Jamharian’s assortment,” which is now renamed to “Jamharian Collection.” After a while, Samvel started traveling with the caravans and established numerous partnerships in the east and the west. He aimed to sell more and more products in the local markets and to spread all over the Arab world, in Iran and in Europe through caravans.
Later, Vartan, Samvel’s son, and Vartan’s grandson, began to articulate and present their products so artistically that it became a work of art. The oils were already being filled in special glass containers brought from China. The essential oils produced with various bottles and engravings on the bottles became a fusion of art and craft. As a result, the family craft was passed down from generation to generation until the 1830s, when the Jamharian family was forced to move to Eastern Armenia, leaving their prosperous settlement. Earlier, the Armenian volunteer detachments, including the Jamharians, were waging fierce battles against the Turkish-Kurdish troops along with the Russian army. So, afterwards, the Turks would take revenge on the Armenians who took part in the battles. Anticipating the imminent anti-Armenian massacres, the Jamharian dynasty had to escape to Eastern Armenia, crossing the Mother river Araks. On the way, Vartan lost his brother with his family and two sons of his.
In Eastern Armenia, Jamharians inhabited an area called Sevan’s bay, the present-day Yeranos village in the Martuni region. Over the years, the Jamharians have spread throughout Armenia and all over the world. There is also a well-known Jamharian family in Nagorno Karabakh, probably related to these Jamharians.
It is known that crafts had no place in the Soviet Union, which is why the ancestral craft of the Jamharians was forgotten. And only 100 years later, nine generations after bell-ringer or jamhar Vartan, Vartan Jamharian, and Muhammad Al Attar combined their efforts, thoughts, and purpose to establish a branch of Al Attar Parfume in Armenia. They undertook a mission to create a range of quality perfumes, combining Eastern and Western fragrances. They used the same components with which ringer Vartan perhaps did the first steps in the history of the creation of the first Armenian perfume. Jamharian Collection includes natural oils and fragrances from rosemary, geranium, mountain lavender, hyacinth and Alashkert rose petals.
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