Sevan Bıçakçı found his calling early in life.
Uninspired by school, he was allowed to begin his apprenticeship at the age of 12 in the workshop of Hovsep Çatak in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul. Çatak would teach him basic techniques and encouraged him to follow his vision. Bıçakçı notes that “techniques of the jeweler’s craft can be taught, but the inspiration to create is the main ingredient, and it is either there or not.”
Following Çatak’s death four years later, Bıçakçı opened his own workshop. In 2002, he launched his first solo collection, inspired by the Bazaar and the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul. The Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia and the rich artistic traditions of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires have all informed his jewellery, and Bıçakçı is particularly known for marrying the ancient with the contemporary. Bıçakçı says that “I dream of ancient Istanbul and imagine that I am an Ottoman Sultan, his concubine or Byzantine Queen. Both worlds merge in this moment and allow me to create jewelry that I would have worn at the time and would be pleased to wear again.”
Bıçakçı’s work requires a high degree of craftsmanship, using techniques including inlay, filigree, enameling, painting, engraving, micro-mosaic setting and intaglio carving. Intaglio carving is a technique whereby all carving is done below the surface—the opposite of relief sculpture—and is sometimes known as hollow relief. When done with a gemstone, intaglio carving creates the effect of a three-dimensional image inside of the stone.
Much of Bıçakçı’s work is sold directly to private clients in Turkey, though the designer has two boutiques, one in Miami and one in Istanbul. The majority of the work is one-of-a-kind and highly focused on craftsmanship. Bıçakçı’s workshop employs nearly 100 jewelers, each specializing in a particular technique. About 350 pieces are released each year, with some being so complex to require several months of labour. Prices can often reach six figures.
Bıçakçı has been recognized internationally, and is nicknamed “The Lord of the Rings.” Hollywood has taken note of his singular vision, with celebrities including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Elizabeth Hurley, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Halle Berry and the Olsen twins being among his fans.
We are delighted to include a ring by Bıçakçı, lot 42 in our March Jewellery auction, which showcases his signature intaglio technique.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE AUCTION
The auction will be offered online March 6 – 11.
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