The Most Dazzling Jewelry from Begum Khan

 Born into a family of art collectors, designer Begüm Kiroglu draws influence from the opulence of the Ottoman Empire and South-East Asian traditions for her regal jewellery label, Begüm Khan. 

It was launched in 2011 with a pivotal focus on cufflinks – the designer was encouraged to design her own as a wedding gift to her brother – later expanding into a comprehensive collection inspired by Tibetan textiles, ancient religious talismans and the elegant curvature of Turkey’s Süleymaniye Mosque. Each piece, including statement earrings and bold cuffs, is crafted by hand in an atelier just outside of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar from 24kt gold and bronze, then finished with baroque pearls, root rubies and vibrant aquamarine.

Kiroglu is drawn to creatures not considered traditionally beautiful, creating insects in coral and studding tortoises and roosters in precious gems. ‘An important figure for me in this collection was the mouse,’ she says. ‘It’s a standout. I believe that the mouse is a symbol of hope, beauty and optimism that will bring us all good fortune. Another motif is the butterfly, which I really find strong: it is a reference to a metamorphosis, while blossom represents a flower blooming from a bud. And I always work with turtles and scarabs; I strongly believe they have been my lucky charms since I was a child.’

For Kiroglu, the biggest challenge in creating this collection was staying faithful to the brand’s DNA, while creating something wholly new. ‘It’s repeating the same shapes but also innovating and renovating yourself at the same time,’ she adds. ‘It is a challenge, but I believe with this collection I achieved it. You see all of our classic family members – the frogs, eyes, turtle, scarab – but in a totally new body with the chains, gold and platinum. They are really similar but, at the same time, very different. So, that was a beautiful challenge to achieve.