By Merk Ozkan
ISTANBUL (AA) - With facemasks part of our standard attire in the age of coronavirus, a Turkish metalsmith has stepped up to serve the niche market with something a bit more glam than your basic two-ply: masks made of precious silver and gold.
Sabri Demirci, 43, has been working as a skilled metalsmith for over three decades in the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul.
He told Anadolu Agency that when he heard about scientific research saying that both of the precious metals are anti-bacterial, he started working on the unique masks.
When he reopened his shop in the city's historical Eminonu district in June, following a closure due to measures to curb the virus’ spread, he started production following a long effort to make a mold.
"The silver mask is pure 999-carat. It doesn’t contain any copper or nickel coating," Demirci said, adding that it weighs 20 grams, is comfortable for the wearer, and is priced at 1,500 Turkish liras ($188).
The 25-gram gold mask is priced at 20,000 Turkish liras ($2,500).
"These masks can be bought from our online store, virtual stores worldwide, and silver and gold shops," he said. "Our weekly mask production is 150-200 pieces."
Calling the masks "timeless," the master smith said when the pandemic is over, the "collectible" items can be sold or held onto as "COVID-19 souvenirs" of times bygone.