Avedis Zildjian I (the first) was an Armenian alchemist in the city of Constantinople in the seventeenth century. While attempting to create gold by combining base metals he discovered an alloy of copper, tin, and traces of silver with unique sound qualities. Avedis used this discovery to create cymbals of spectacular clarity and power. The sound of the instruments was extraordinary, and as his reputation grew he was given the name Zildjian, an Armenian word meaning son of cymbal maker.
The Zildjian secret alloy is now nearly four centuries old. It has been passed down between Zildjian heirs for fourteen generations. Currently, Armand Zildjian's two daughters, Craigie and Debbie are continuing the family tradition. Zildjian has been officially recognized as the oldest continually family-owned business in America.