Turkish Delights

Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453 and, less than ten years later, Fatih Mehmet ordered the construction of the Topkapi Sarayi Palace overlooking the Bosphorus. It remained the seat of the Ottoman Sultans until 1853. The ring designs Topkapi One and Topkapi Two were inspired by the Ottoman treasures.

It was the Exhibition: "Paintings of the Sultans" at the Topkapi Sarayi Palace, showing off the extraordinary and flamboyant jewels there, that tempted me inside. Courtyard led to courtyard, room into room, each more opulently decorated than the last.

In a small, velvet lined and dusty glass cabinet lay a bowl of rich orange amber hubbly bubbly pipe ends. Each decorated with ornate patterns: swirling, baroque, striated and spiralling. These gold lattices were set variously with diamonds, pearls and turquoises.

Back in my studio, the small postcard like photo I developed from my film when I returned took me straight back to the cabinet.

What had begun In my mind and sketchbook as designs in Constantinople became derailed drawings for two rings: Topkapi One and Topkapi Two. And, in turn, the sketches became exquisitely carved gold bands with the gold twisting and turning around the finger, the pattern repeating like a gentle wave, with diamonds sparkling like water caught in sunlight.

In time I added diamond set bands to the Topkapi One designs, and then came a bracelet and necklace. And with my love of the circular shape for pendants I crafted the wave of diamonds around a circle always preserving the delicate feel of the design and the crisp, yet soft edge of the setter's scorper, curling metal over stone.

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