Istanbul is the place where the West meets the East. Traders left Europe in search of the mysterious treasures of India and Asia, including fine spices, fine fabrics and other exotic treats. Over the centuries, the influences of all these cultures contributed to the opulence and grandeur of the Ottoman Empire and what is present-day Turkey.
Inspired by the mystical allure of Istanbul comes Gilan jewelry. Brothers Muharrem and Ferhan Gilan launched the jewelry design company in 1980 and named their creations after the town their ancestors hailed from. They were inspired by their great-grandmother, who was head seamstress for the Ottoman Court and created many of the Pasha’s customized dresses.
The first Gilan store opened in the Akmerkez shopping center in Istanbul and today its unique products inspired by the country’s bright, elegant culture can be found world-wide. The company is also in its second generation of leadership, but with the original team of designers.
Gilan family members use the word “magic” regularly to describe the process of blending traditional jewelry crafting methods and designs with modern techniques and materials.
Today Gilan is considered the top name in haute jewelry in Turkey, and was even asked to sponsor the renovation of the country’s Topkapi Palace Treasury Hall, considered the third largest treasury in the world.
The company values its heritage, but wants to make luxurious pieces available around the world, including boutiques in New York; Neiman Marcus stores in New York, Boston, Chicago and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Saks Fifth Avenue stores, including Beverly Hills, Calif., Bergdorf Goodman in New York; the Ritz Hotel in Paris; and Luxury World in Azerbaijan.
Types of pieces
Gilan’s beautiful, timeless styles include intricate, timeless bridal sets, with delicate contours and sparkling stones; a Design collection with colorful, detailed pieces that evoke explosive passions; and a Heritage collection that blends contemporary and traditional styles, including an occasional dominant gemstone that adds a touch of whimsy, surrounded by diamonds housed in silver settings. Many pieces, including some of the Heritage pieces, offer some extra surprises such as a silver front side and a gold back side, both sides equally well-crafted.
Along with jewelry, Gilan creates objets d’art, including champagne flutes.
Where to see it
It’s the elegant jewelry that that attracts a great deal of attention, especially when it’s dangling from the ears or displayed on the necks of today’s most glamorous stars of film and music. In the last few years, Gilan has been spotted on Hollywood’s red carpets worn by Lucy Liu, Salma Hayek, Drew Barrymore Alicia Keys and others.
The rose-cut diamonds are especially popular in earrings at gala events like Oscar night or the Golden Globes, especially with a central stone that matches the color and style of the wearer’s gown, such as amethysts accenting a blue ensemble.
Along with the star-studded celebrities, Gilan wants its jewelry to be accessible to others. Visitors to any of its boutiques or its interactive web site can receive advice on what type of jewelry most appeals to a recipient’s sense of style, from something with a vintage look to something more modern.