112 days: Luka Tsereteli

Today, as I walked the cobblestone streets of Tbilisi's Old Town, the fusion of Eastern and Western architecture served as a vivid backdrop to my explorations. The air was crisp, with a gentle breeze carrying the scent of fresh khachapuri from nearby bakeries. My walk took me to Freedom Square, where I met Luka Tsereteli, a local craftsman who makes traditional Georgian jewelry. Luka, a man in his late fifties, has a small stall on Shardeni Street, where he painstakingly works on intricate designs he learned from his ancestors. He shared stories of Tbilisi's past, a city once a bustling silk trading center, now known for its vibrant art scene and rich history.

We talked about the changes he has witnessed, the growing number of tourists, and his fears that the city might lose its charm in the midst of modernization. I was moved by Luka's deep connection to his craft and his city. He showed me a piece he was particularly proud of, a delicate silver necklace inspired by the ancient vine patterns found on many of Tbilisi's historic buildings. This meeting not only gave me a deeper appreciation for Georgian culture, but also sparked an idea for my next piece. As I left, the sun dipped below the horizon and the city lights began to twinkle, reflecting off the Kura River and adding a layer of magic to the end of another enriching day.

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