The name Gurhan is renowned for exquisite jewelry pieces made from pure gold and other precious metals. Gurhan Orhan was born in Ankara, Turkey, and became intrigued by working with gold when, at the age of 40, he was handed a sheet of 24-karat gold. Rather than taking a traditional path of studying goldsmithing, he instead went to museums and studied the techniques employed by ancient artisans. In the years since, his line has grown in both range and popularity. We caught up with Gurhan, who recently visited Neiman Marcus at Plaza Frontenac.
LN: What is so inspiring about gold for you?
GO: Let me explain this with the term, ‘love at first sight.’ I was seduced by pure gold and fell in love with it immediately. This is a mysterious charm that cannot be put into words. Shaping pure gold and carrying all my knowledge, passion and dreams into it gives me great pleasure. To me, a sheet of pure gold is a map of hidden roads to ancient civilizations—a work of art that carries within echoes from previous ages.
LN: Coming into the field at the age of 40, do you feel like you had insights that you might not have had if you’d started designing jewelry earlier in life?
GO: I do not think that there would be any difference. I would go through the same challenges. In order to be successful, you need to work with passion. When I fell in love with pure gold, I decided to research ancient civilizations and their gold production methods and tools. I spent many years reading various archaeological books and extracting this knowledge to create my designs—this is still ongoing for me.
LN: Why did you decide to expand from working with gold into other metals?
GO: I love challenges! As I started discovering different qualities of different metals such as platinum, bronze, palladium and silver, I started becoming more adventurous in my designs. I believe each new metal is gives color and dimension to my jewelry.
LN: I understand you studied the art by looking at ancient pieces in museums. Tell me a little about how that experience plays out in your work.
GO: I’ve been doing serious research on the way the ancient goldsmiths processed gold from the day I started out. During all my research, I’ve delved into many different cultures and discovered lots of authentic techniques and equipments. And, I combined all those ‘ancient’ techniques of producing jewelry with the modern techniques. The more you learn from other cultures, the more ‘new’ and ‘authentic’ creations are made. Never stop learning!
LN: Why is jewelry a great gift for the holidays?
GO: There are many reasons for giving jewelry as a gift. Especially, my 24-karat pieces are heirloom pieces and they can be passed down to the next generation. Jewelry is forever!
LN: What advice do you have for men who might be shopping for something for their significant other?
GO: Give a gift of something both classic and distinctive so that their significant others will wear it day in, day out.