Sevan Bicakci is an artist. He is a sculptor creating artwork through stone carving. It just happens to be of a scale that can be called jewelry. The settings for the stones he carves are as much a piece of art as the stones they are designed to hold. His rings are all one-of-a-kind and fashioned in 24kt gold and sterling silver, layered and nuanced.
This is someone who feels deeply, thinks carefully, and is hyper-observant of his surroundings. Turkey, especially Istanbul, is absolutely essential to his creations. Sevan’s aesthetic is interlaced inextricably with his sense of place; the history of his native Turkey. There is a contradictory element to his design: the pull back of an old world sense of craft and value, in opposition to an edge of mystery and modern, pushing us forward.
From the top, the gemstones are polished or faceted with an expected finish. But winking beneath the surface is an apparition from Sevan’s mind, carved into the stone by his own hands. An owl may gaze at you, complete with a sage expression. Or wings, each feather impossibly defined in the stone’s matrix. If you’re lucky, you can see and hold a piece of his micro-mosaic jewelry, which I think is the true definition of insanity: entire landscapes of design created from almost microscopic tiles of gemstones.
I heard a great story from someone who knows Sevan very well. She said that when she first met him and he was still refining his gem-carving, he broke lots of gemstones trying to unlock his vision within the stones. As he grew more experienced with his craft, they all expected less damage, less breakage. But he still seemed to go through a lot of gemstones, even as his skills grew extraordinary. When he was asked about it (why are you still breaking stones?), Sevan answered “because I am now attempting more and more intricate designs.” He still sees himself very much as an apprentice, needing to learn more, express more.
Yes, the rings are large. Yes, the settings can be extravagant in their scale and exuberance. But, oh! The details! Sevan’s jewelry asks for exploration. It can’t be consumed in one sitting. You have to look closely. Be open. If you are ready, you will see something you didn’t expect.
This is what jewelry is supposed to be. Where your heart beats faster and your imagination takes flight.