Majestic mosques, exotic bazaars full of fragrant spices, imposing minarets and sultans. Istanbul, the only city in the world which has reigned as capital of three different empires. And just this fairytale city is without a doubt the greatest muse for Sevan Bicakci, known in the fine jewelry world as “Lord of the Rings.”
|Sevan in his laboratory.|
Born and raised in Turkey, as a youth he worked here and there in odd jobs, dropping out of school in the fifth grade and becoming an apprentice to a relative who was a goldsmith. At 18, he opened his own workshop. Now 42, Mr. Bicakci is known internationally thanks to pieces like his Haghia Sophia rings.
|Brooke Shields and Sevan in 2010.|
Sevan Bicakci is the recipient of a string of prestigious awards, including the “Tanzanite Foundation Award” for “Best Independent Designer of 2007”. Sevan has also won the
Town & Country Couture Awards over the last years including the 2008 Town & Country Couture Gemstone Award.Some of Sevan’s well-known wearers and collectors include Brooke Shields, Catherine Zeta Jones, Elizabeth Hurley, Liv Tyler, Kim Raver, Halle Berry, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Angie Harmon, Michelle Monaghan, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Tory Burch.
|"Octopus" ring-bracelet made of gold and silver, with more than 3,000 diamonds multicolored hand-set, 164 pearls and a baroque pearl "South Sea" of 24 carats.|
However, Biçakçi is not a typical superstar: he still has his factory shop in the district of the Grand Bazaar of his home city Istanbul (in fact he doesn’t own any stores in any of the large western capital cities), he doesn’t often appear in the media nor does he speak English; in fact, Biçakçi is much more of an artist and a craftsman than a media figure and although he’s pursued by international success, he doesn’t appear to be too interested in finding it.
|A series of rings Sevan.|
Currently, on the two upper levels of his factory shop located in the vicinity of the Grand Bazaar, a team of 95 people among metal smiths who specialize in working with silver and gold, master setters, painters, and a sculptor, have all been carefully selected by Biçakçi to produce his dream creations. According to the calculations of the jeweller himself, the meticulous work of this talented team produces around 350 pieces a year; an understandable figure, knowing that each piece is elaborated completely by hand and take several months to complete.
|Original two-finger ring.|
According to Biçakçi, the workshop is an exciting place that’s inhabited by “magicians”, individuals who are extremely talented and able to combine their specialties to achieve a unique end result; a true creative vortex in where you’ll find the eye of Sevan Biçakç, the true gravitational centre which unites and brings everything into order. Without doubt, one of the main reasons why the Turkish master’s jewellery is so attractive is down to the use of highly specialized techniques of which many remain a total secret and were developed by Biçakçi and his team after extremely long and exhaustive processes of trial and error.
|Ring with the Hagia Sophia of Instambul.|
A prime example of this is the intaglio sculpting process which is a technique of “inverse sculpture” that allows the characteristic “drawings” that fill the interior of the large stones of the Turkish jewellers’ rings. This method was developed from the need to decorate and give depth to these large-sized stones in shapes that were designed to emulate the domes of Istanbul such as Hagia Sophia; and they became the perfect way to tell a story through the actual ring.
|Rings with birds carved and painted in stone.|
|Ring "All over Istanbul" with micro-mosaic.|
Another impressive technique he uses is the micro mosaic, and one of the most incredible examples of the skill that he achieves with this method is the “All over Istanbul” ring, with more than 7000 miniscule tiles that took more than a year and a half to place (in fact, the process was so laborious that Sevan didn’t want to sell the ring).
Besides these and other more traditional jewellery procedures, Biçakçi incorporates Arab handwriting, paintings, sculptures and engravings to his creations as well as a series of details that enrich and give narrative depth to the piece, emphasizing the unique character of each one of them. If there’s something that particularly characterizes Sevan Biçakçi’s jewels, it’s his complexity that consists of both physical and metaphorical multiple layers; pieces that are made in such a way that the end result is a visual wealth that goes beyond simple beauty and boldly enters the complex territory of art.
We invite you to look at a selection of rings in our Pinterest page: