This is my friend Giorgio, who lives in Dallas, Texas and owns six jewelry factories in Istanbul, Turkey. I met him several years ago at a jewelry show in Santa Monica, Ca. along with his brother Nico. And I have been unique Turkish jewelry from them ever since.
These young men come from a long line of jewelry designers in Turkey and have brought their unique designs to the US.
Before leaving for my recent trip, Giorgio invited me to meet him in Istanbul for a personal tour of his factories. I was thrilled and honored because usually a jewelry manufacturer keeps all their designs top secret so they can't be copied by the competition.
Here's a brief preview of my visit: Though they call them factories it was not what I expected. Each one we visited specialized in specific styles and designs. This one made the druzy pendants. This woman spends her day threading tiny stones and attaching them to pendants, hundreds of them. The thing that impressed me the most is the realization that every detail of every piece is truly hand made. I never realized how much effort goes into every piece!
Check this out. All those almost microscopic crystals are individually hand set. They use a tiny vacuum that looks like a ball point pen to pick up the crystal and imbed it in this soft mortar. The finished piece looks like it is a pave setting. The stones are so close together and so evenly distributed. Amazing!
This is what the finished product looks like. These are baroque pearls with a crystal cap handmade on each. There were hundreds here and Giorgio told me two people did this in less than two days! Imagine how their back and eyes must ache! But, they must be so proud, look how beautiful these are!
The stone are mostly set by young women.
And the solder and cutting is done by young men. This soldering procedure would never be allowed in the US. There is absolutely no safety equipment and the buildings were very old with wood and flammable material everywhere.
Doesn't it make you nervous just looking at how casual they are with white hot heat???
And the same casual procedures are repeated with cutting the stones and the metal. They do everything by hand! Hard to believe!
The music is blaring, the dust is flying and the work is intense! Girogio is so proud of these young people. He treats them like family and they love him. The days are long and hot in small rooms up flights of stairs down back alleys but each person seemed happy to have jobs and loved being with their friends. There was plenty of Cola and snacks to keep them smiling.
It was a fascinating day. I am so grateful to Giorgio for spending so much time with me and of course I bought many of the pieces I know are one of a kind and yes, handmade. I won't raise my prices because I now realize how much effort goes into each piece but I do have a personal new appreciation of what I never even thought about before.
So check out the website, we've already sold lots since my return but there are some fine ones left and now I know where to find more! This is a sample of the sapphire necklaces I bought five of.