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Extolling the Olden Days with Gurhan

Extolling the Olden Days with Gurhan

I first came across the jewelry of Gurhan more than a decade ago, when a double-strand gold and black-diamond necklace caught my eye at Harrod’s, in London. Uncomplicated. Subtle, yet striking. And based on the exchange rate for the English Pound, beyond even a reckless use of my American Express card. I documented the piece in my notepad, just in case it might one day show up in America, perhaps at a more approachable price.

 About two years later, there it was at Fragments, a well-curated shop that became my favorite jewelry boutique in New York City (and is, sadly, no longer in business). The single-strand version wished me a happy birthday.

 The shop became an automatic stop in subsequent trips to New York, as I sought other Gurhan treasures. The Gurhan aesthetic matched my own—modern works with more than a passing nod to ancient techniques and designs. 

 I recently had the privilege of meeting the master at his delightful atelier on Franklin Street, in Tribeca. There he was, hammer in hand. We enjoyed a wide-ranging chat. After being shown the Savvy Stegosaurus brooch, he was smitten with the concept of being Positively Prehistoric and made the pin his very own. Though the Stego may be of the Late Jurassic vintage, Gurhan’s take on more-recent ancient culture includes antique lava-stone cameos, custom-set Roman coins, and medieval crosses, all honor the tradition of expert handwork. 

 Gurhan didn’t train to be a jewelry designer. His interests extended from building hi-fi equipment, to making watches in Switzerland, to running a rock bar in his native Turkey. But when he held a piece of 24K gold, it sparked a vision—for jewelry that recalled the craft and artistry of ancient cultures. 

 Likewise, the Founding Fossil, who became captivated by the backstories of objects she worked with at a decorative arts museum, never abandoned her old-school values even when facing the digital world. Be Positively Prehistoric® is a rallying cry to preserve the handmade when 3-D printing and machine fabrication is more economical, to preserve the handwritten note over a facile text, and to make time for the loose conversation friends exchange over a meal. We may be fossils, but we refuse to relinquish the sweetness of the moment to a flickering mobile device.

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