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Lord of the Rings 30 mai 2012

Posted by Acturca in Art-Culture, Economy / Economie, Istanbul, Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie.
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Arab News (Saudi Arabia) May 30, 2012, p. 13

Rima Al-Mukhtar

Sevan Bicakci is a Turkish jewelry designer and winner of the Couture Design Award for the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. He also won the Tanzanite Foundation Award for Best Independent Designer of 2007.

Bicakci is known in the fine jewelry industry as “Lord of the Rings” for his uniquely crafted rings, most of which are sold to private collectors.

Bicakci was incapable of keeping himself out of trouble throughout his school years. He was ever hyper, and it was almost impossible for his teachers to make him sit down or listen. This led his father to come to the decision of making him start work as an apprentice in the workshop of one of his close friends. And this was where his story began. “I was 12 when I first entered the workshop of Hovsep Chatak, my deceased master, and he died when I was 18, after which I opened my first workshop as a model maker,” he said. “I provided big manufacturers with model masterpieces for many years, following their instructions in terms of design. This became very boring in time as there was no freedom at all for me to come up with my personal design ideas,” he added.

Bicakci did not like that he had to do what he was told and this is what finally made him decide to change his life, after going bankrupt performing such activities. “I was 29 when I opened the last chapter of my career with my individual designs. It took me almost a year to create the first 50 pieces of my own collection,” he said.

Bicakci has been working on some jewelry watch ideas for almost four years now, and the first few pieces are likely to come out by the end of 2012, according to him. “Apart from that, my future plans are about dedicating my time to more experimentation, and to more holistic approaches with more attention to detail, so that I can fit larger worlds into my pieces,” he said.

The designer’s intention is to create jewelry that reflects his personal identity; he decided to get inspiration by whatever gives shape to his soul. “The cultural heritage of Istanbul and Turkey has become a very important source of inspiration. It’s the architecture, the lifestyle and the legends from both the Byzantine and the Ottoman past as I have been spending almost every day of my life being surrounded by fantastic monuments such as the Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, the St. Sophia Church, the Grand Bazaar, marvelous fountains, cisterns and mausoleums,” he said. “It’s the nature and the lifestyle any Istanbul citizen would enjoy during everyday life. Anyone getting to the Asian or European side of the city by one of the Bosphorus boats might catch stunning moments such as watching dolphins race with the boat or feeding the seagulls that chase the boat with pieces of “simit” bread thrown into the air. It’s just these little things that inspire me as they define my soul and my identity in any way,” he added.

The first piece Bicakci made was about the conversion of Sultan Mehmet II’s head into a ring. “It was made for the index finger so the Sultan’s face showed sideways while his turban, set with fancy-colored gemstones, was the more visible upper part of the ring. I have managed to buy back some of my first rings later on,” he said.

Bicakci uses different materials and gems in his designs such as aquamarine, tourmaline, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, moonstone, citrine, quartz, bone, mammoth bone, ebony wood, mother of pearl, stained glass, ceramics, porcelain and meerschaum. He said that, as long as the materials are genuine and helpful in creating the initially desired look, he is pleased to use any of them in rich combinations.

When asked about the methods he uses to project his style, name and brand out to the public, Bicakci stressed the importance of being in collaboration with the most exceptional artists and artisans around. “Continuous experimenting with materials and techniques; taking time to complete each single piece; keeping focus exclusively on creation of one-of-a-kind and unique jewels; paying maximum attention to detail and creating bold statements instead of passive accessories by means of jewelry making, sculpture, painting and else creative processes,” he stated.

According to Bicakci, his style is very much about making the Ottoman Sultan meet Alice in Wonderland. The designs are just as unique as their wearers. “Although I am quite an alien to trends, I can see that those who can afford bespoke jewelry pieces will stay away from expensive yet mass produced designs,” he said.

Talking about the most challenging piece of jewelry that he ever attempted to make, Bicakci said, “I bought a beautiful 150ct Columbian Muzo emerald two years ago and decided to carve two baby angels into it before setting the stone to the center of a big platinum ring covered with a number of big rose-cut diamonds on all remaining parts. You normally do not want to mess with big emeralds of such quality, as they are fragile and risky to work with if you are into engraving them.”

“We could execute mission impossible with success though the emerald’s weight was reduced to approximately just 80 carats eventually. Half of it becomes dust in the wind. However, I have no regrets; the outcome is beautiful and the stone is much more precious to me now. On the other hand, a good number of other high quality emeralds and rubies have fallen victim to similar experiments,” he added.

The biggest goal Bicakci strives to accomplish is for the next generations to remember his name and to see his work in reputable museums. “I advise the jewelry-making hobbyist to keep their ears shut against market demand theories and give their best shot without compromise,” he said.

Sevan’s jewelry is available at “Fitaihi Junior” showrooms in Basateen Center and Jewelry Center in Tahliah Street, in Jeddah; and Centria Mall in Al-Olayah Street, in Riyadh.


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