Iranian arts and crafts are extremely varied and, in most cases, have a very long tradition behind them. They include carpets, kilims (gelim), printed cloth, brocade, inlaid wood, miniatures, and copper and brassware, to name just a few. Unfortunately, these crafts have been declining in quality for a few years and the hotel and airport shops-when they exist-offer only a limited choice, which is soon repetitive. The bazaars have a much wider choice, but do not forget to bargain for anything you buy there, particularly in Isfahan. The bazaar is the best place to buy gold jeweler (in small quantities if you want to avoid trouble when you leave the country), textiles or a chador.
Persian carpets are still of very high quality; as well as the traditional motifs there are now a vanity of modern ones, including the portrait of Imam Khomeini, some of which are of foreign inspiration Because of the strict rules governing the export of carpets, it is best to buy them at a shop which has an exporting license and which will take care of sending them to you, in your home county, against a down payment, If a carpet seller assures you that the laws on exporting carpets have just changed, check with your guide or at the hotel before buying.
The same precautions are valid for antiques. Be careful with recent antiques, cloisonné fresh out of Chinese workshops and miniatures painted on ivory, bone or even plastic.
Caviar can be bought in Iran at extremely low prices, particularly along the Caspian. Theoretically, its export is forbidden unless it has been bought at the airport shop located after customs, where, although more expensive, it is still considerably cheaper than the prices on the European market.
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