JEWELLERY DESIGNER“For me, the design journey always starts with an artistic need. I am constantly hunting for beauty and when I can’t find what I am dreaming of, I start making it.”
Born into a family of Ottoman art collectors in the ancient imperial capital of Istanbul, Begum cultivated her love of beautiful things from an early age. As a child, she explored the ancient alleyways and hidden nooks of cities her family visited in search of antique treasures, and Istanbul’s labyrinthine Grand Bazaar became her playground.
“I learned art shouldn’t be limited to precious porcelain hidden behind glass. Art was part of our daily life, and I see it as a way of living.”
This passion for creativity drew Begum further East, along the historic Silk Road, to Shanghai, where she completed a masters degree in Chinese culture and art. Inspired by the rich heritage and future promise of these two modern-day style capitals, the Begum Khan brand was born.
“Jewellery is where art meets designs and fashion, and this is what I love about it.”
Beginning with whimsical cufflinks, the collection has grown to encompass dazzling accessories for both women and men. Every item is still hand-crafted by Turkish artisans in an old atelier near the Grand Bazaar, a labour of love which imbues each piece with its own personality and soul.
Strongly influenced by nature, Begum’s designs bring to life a menagerie of exotic flora and fauna, fashioned from pink sapphires, baroque pearls and other rare and precious materials. Stag beetles and ladybirds cling to brooches and cuffs, while turtles, koi fishes and lotus flowers dangle from earrings and necklaces.
From the rich detail of an antique rug to a conversation with a stranger, Begum finds inspiration in many places, yet the Orient, the Far East and the Ottoman empire remain her most faithful muses. Encrusted with gems and wrought in gold-plated bronze, her designs recall a glamorous bygone era, updated with an edgy twist. True modern-day heirlooms, they feel simultaneously contemporary and timeless, reflecting the city in which they are conceived and crafted.