Since the age of 12, Sevan Bıçakçı has been familiar with the art and make of fine jewelry. As an Istanbul jeweler, he reflects his homeland into his work that come to life in his intricate pieces. His experience and expertise affect the result of his designs, which are all hand-made, one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. Because of Sevan’s thorough craftsmanship, his pieces aren’t just accessories, they are statements. The face and band of his rings flow together as a whole, one complimenting the other. Sevan Bıçakçı explains his work and the practice that lies behind it in our interview.
What inspired you to create such detailed jewelry with 3D animals or cities inside of them?
I believe that jewellery should be as individual and one-of-a-kind as the person wearing it. From the very beginning, I have always been inspired by my homeland, Istanbul – the architecture, the history, the monuments, etc. My jewellery reflects the spirit of Istanbul.
How do you decide which details to put on the band of the rings?
It is very important to me that rings get literally finished, i.e. no spot gets left blank because it is less visible than the other parts of the same piece. Therefore, my rings are not really divided to zones of any hierarchical order and bands are simply downward flowing parts of one and the same bodies. Whatever embellishing details may appear on those has always to do with the general statement of the ring.
How do you create the 3D animals and cities inside of the pieces?
I use a technique called intaglio carving (gemstone carving). During the carving process, very often we go through many stones before we are satisfied with the end result. The carving is then inversely hand painted, a technique I pioneered.
What process do you go through to create the jewelry?
The process is extremely labour intensive and time-consuming. Individual pieces take several months to a year to complete. In addition to intaglio carving, I use many techniques such as metal-based painting, engraving, calligraphy and micro-mosaic setting. My team of expert craftsmen and I mix our own gold, hand-set every stone and hand-carve and paint each ring, earring, necklace or bracelet from beginning to end.
How long have you been making jewelry?
I began an apprenticeship at the Grand Bazaar when I was just twelve years old. I was mentored by much-respected Armenian jeweler, Hovsep Chatak. To this day, I consider getting the chance to work with one of Istanbul’s masters at such a young age in the Bazaar’s exotic local as my biggest blessing.
How did your jewelry line start and where is it now?
I debuted my first collection, consisting of just 50 rings, in 2002 in Turkey. Today, my pieces can be found in private collections as well as prestigious jewellery houses throughout Europe, America and the Middle East.