Today we are in Istanbul, Turkey amidst the bustling energy and excitement of the Grand Bazaar. With the backdrop of multiple types of pottery, exotic spices, and jewelry we will meet with a native son of Turkey jewelry designer Gurhan Orhan.
The purest form of gold is 24 karats. There is an ironclad consensus within the industry that gold this pure is too soft to create jewelry; Orhan has proved everyone wrong. When I say that Orhan has a passion for 24-karat gold I am not exaggerating.
He literally fell in love with the precious metal about 15 years ago when he observed sheet, leaf gold. "I realized the amount of quality, nice feeling, and nice color of it." Oddly enough as a youth, Orhan studied mathematics and business at the University of Ankara in Turkey.
Thereafter he worked as an electrician, a technician, and even owned a discotheque at one point. However, his love for and fascination with pure gold was so powerful it led him to learn techniques used by ancient goldsmiths of Anatolia and Byzantium.
In 1994, after establishing a workshop in the Grand Bazaar, Orhan painstakingly learned to achieve the durability and buoyancy evident in 24-karat gold jewelry from 7,000 years ago. A few of the techniques include hammering the gold for durability, and polishing it with sand granules.
Orhan employs over 100 assistants in his company locations in New York and Turkey, and each one has been trained in these time-honored techniques. Inspired by the many facets of a woman, Orhan rebuffs any modern technology in creating his designs, everything is handcrafted. As stated on his website, "In the beginning is the image of a woman. And from this image flows another: a design for jewelry that will awaken her potential for legendary beauty."
Orhan's centuries-old techniques result in gold jewelry that is rich in color and texture. He uses accents of luminous Australian opals, Chinese turquoise, and the deepest colored rubies I have ever seen to complement the warm, luscious glow of pure yellow gold. I think Orhan's jewelry is the most beautiful gold jewelry I have seen. It is a combination of ancient and modern aesthetics.
Every year Orhan includes a collection that "reincarnates" jewelry from periods in history. He has an Egyptian Collection featuring Egyptian Scarab medallions; and several years ago, he created a collection featuring styles from the Victorian period.
The 2009 spring issue of Elegant Bride features Orhan's latest design, a silver and gold cuff bracelet signifying a broadening of his solely golden landscape.
Photo 1 (top right): 24-Karat Gold Rings, Necklace, and Earrings with Rubies
Photo 2: (top left) 24-Karat Gold Clasp Bracelet