In this weekly feature, InStyle’s jewelry and watch editor Marion Fasel shares the inside scoop on the treasures that are on her radar. Look for it every Thursday on What’s Right Now, and follow Fasel on Instagram (@marionfasel) to see more gems that rock her world.
You may not be familiar with the name of the Turkish master jeweler Sevan Bicakci but you have probably seen his creations. Gwyneth Paltrow wears her diamond padlock pendant by Bicakci all the time. Tory Burch and Brooke Shields (above, left, with Bicakci) have been spotted in their favorite Sevan Bicakci statement rings for years. These celebrity sightings have given a glimpse of the designer’s talent. The lavishly illustrated book Sevan Bicakci, written by jewelry historian Vivienne Becker, shows off all the detail of the glorious creations with 192 illustrations. The Istanbul-based designer who was in New York to launch the publication sat down with InStyle to tell us about it.
Your story is epic—from your humble beginning working on jewelry in the Grand Bazaar as a teenager to becoming a celebrated jewelry designer, and indeed a national hero in Turkey. Yet, you are only 42 years old. Why did you feel the time was right to publish a book of your work?I had no plans whatsoever about a book, not even an idea. The team at Assouline publishers especially Martine and Prosper Assouline made the suggestion along with the author Vivienne Becker. We talked about it on-and-off for around two years. When I finally agree it was a good idea, it took about two more years to create the book.
The vast majority of the jewels in the book are your incredible rings showing off your signature reverse intaglio carving technique. You have recreated the monuments in Istanbul, birds and flowers in these magical designs.Rings have a thread to jewelry throughout time. Rings were important to kings and queens, rulers of the past. Even gods and goddess depicted in ancient art works are wearing rings. I feel rings are the most symbolic, personal, and beautiful form of jewelry that’s why I have focused on them so heavily in my work. In fact there was a long period in my career when I only made rings.
The padlock might be one of your most recognizable motifs since Gwyneth Paltrow has worn her pendant so frequently.In Turkey there is a lot of symbolism to locks. There is a tradition to make wishes for a loved one at a Mausoleum and in return when you make a wish you also put a padlock on the fence. It means you are not going to forget about the wish and you will give something in return, some charitable act. The lock represents the fact that you will remember your promise for the wish. Locks also symbolize the safekeeping of precious things. Worn on the neck on a chain make the person wearing it the valuable.
Sevan Bicakci ($160) is available at assouline.com.