In the mornings when I was staying in Constantinople, I would walk down to the Topkapi Palace at the end of Soguk Cesme street. I walked on into the gardens and with eyes half closed, imagined the tulips that would have grown there in the days of the the Ottomans. In my imagination the mixture of vibrant colours of tulip petals were like those bright petals on the tulip-patterned tiles throughout the Palace.
In the furthest rooms from the great entrance gateways were dusty, velvet lined cabinets filled with teacups flamboyantly encrusted with diamonds. Hubble-bubble pipe ends had been stuffed haphazardly into pale grey agate bowls and decorated with precious stones set into the waxy amber mouth pieces. It was these ornate cylindrical objects that caught my eye. Pushing my camera as close to the glass as I could, I tried to take some photographs.... of course they were blurry. Then ,hurriedly I sketched the detail of two of the pipes in my note book before the Palace closed that evening.
It was only when I developed the 35mm film and looked at the glossy postcard-sized prints back in London that I began to envisage the Topkapi design taking shape. The curlique swirls, echoing the calligraphy, twisted their tendrils around the Topkapi Two ring design. In the workshop, the craftsmen turned the gold, chasing it into fronds where the setter could nestle small sparkling diamonds. Each ring is a work of art, requiring a mini - scaffolding to construct it. The end result is a ring of such beauty it begs to be worn all the time.
It was a fascination with Tulips that first lured me to Turkey... the word for tulip originates from the Turkish word for Turban..
It was only when I came back to London with "6 x 4" pictures printed from my film camera that I realised the cylindrical decorations of the pipes would make the most wonderful Eternity rings- and so the Topkapi one and Topkapi Two collections were born.