By Rachel Garrahan in New York
Scheherazade, the legendary Persian queen, was famed for her storytelling prowess. Enthralling the murderous King Shahryar with tales of courage, mischief and romance over 1,001 nights, she avoided death at his hands and captured his heart in the process. These stories form the basis of the book The Arabian Nights, which has charmed readers around the world for centuries.
Leave it to Sevan Biçakçi, a master of storytelling in jewellery form, to recreate the Persian queen's palace in a ring. Featuring two of the Turkish master-jeweller's signature techniques - intaglio carving and micro-mosaic - the queen's palace rises majestically beneath blue tourmaline, its domes echoed in the dramatic setting of turquoise tesserae, diamonds, blackened silver and gold.
Describing his jewellery as "Byzantine empire meets Alice in Wonderland", Sevan Biçakçi is famously secretive about the techniques used to create his fantastical pieces. (Not even Maria,The Jewellery Editor, was allowed to film Sevan's workshop during her visit to Istanbul.) Drawing heavily on the historical and cultural influences of his native Turkey, his work is unlike anything you might see in a museum - or contemporary jewellery boutique for that matter.
Instead you are left to wonder at the miniature marvels contained below the extraordinary domes of his unique pieces. Inspired by the impressive dome of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, built in 537AD, the cupola and outlying architecture of this historic monument has been sheltered for eternity beneath a smoky topaz, beautifully contrasted with large rose-cut and fancy colour diamonds set luxuriously around the shank.
Nature is another recurring source of inspiration for Biçakçi, brought to life in his ladybird ring - creatures he describes as good-luck bugs - that appear to scurry beneath an inversely carved smoky topaz. These scarlet creatures are richly matched with the turquoise of the micro-mosaic leaf that wraps itself around the finger.
For those who prefer the escapism of a bright blue sky, his one-of-a-kind aquamarine ring depicts doves - symbols of peace and freedom - in flight against a dazzling backdrop of 3.76 carats of diamonds; yet another mesmerizing option from the enchanted Byzantine world of Biçakçi, for the woman who wants to tell a unique story on her finger.
Sevan's work is available in many stores across the world including the Grand Bazaar and Zorlu Center in Istanbul, Harvey Nichols and Talisman Gallery in London, Strasburgo in Tokyo, and Barneys New York stores across the US.