Gurhan, the Designer
How did Gurhan come to be a goldsmith and jewelry designer?
In 1994 another watchmaker handed Gurhan a sheet of pure 24-karat gold and, unknowingly, unlocked his life long passion which would come to define his vocation to pure gold. The energy he experienced touching this sheet was so moving and emotional that his immediate reaction was to discover the secrets hidden within this 24-karat gold sheet. Gurhan was fascinated by why metal smiths had stopped working in pure gold and the challenges presented by the limitations of the metal, especially its softness. It quickly became his mission to revive the use of the metal and conquer it as a medium for jewelry design. Interestingly, Gurhan still carries this sheet of gold in his wallet as a constant reminder of that moment.
How did Gurhan learn to make jewelry?
A purist at heart, Gurhan did not want to be influenced by modern techniques or machinery. He therefore taught himself from first principles. Refusing tutelage, he closeted himself in a small workshop with Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar for 18 months, simply experimenting with metals and stones. He researched the techniques of the ancient goldsmiths with the ambition of “reincarnating” their work with pure gold. Borne of this was a revival of the all but lost art of working with pure gold.
Does Gurhan make all the jewelry himself?
Gurhan is the only designer of his line. He is also a master goldsmith. Gurhan makes the jewelry as well as designs it and he develops and creates each prototype by hand. Once the final piece is perfected, Gurhan then personally teaches his apprentices how to make the piece. It is significant to note that Gurhan will only take on an apprentice with no former training or experience in jewelry making. Personally tutoring each student in the same craft of gold-smithing used by the ancients, Gurhan is deeply committed to his apprentices not being tainted by the influences of modern techniques or training.
What is the significance to Gurhan’s contribution to the “World of Jewelry”?
Unacknowledged as an acceptable metal for designer jewelry, Gurhan has validated 24-karat gold by pioneering its revival and becoming a leading advocate for the use of gold. Gurhan’s distinctive designs have demonstrated to the goldsmiths and jewelers world-wide that 24K Gold is not only a viable medium, but deserves a permanent place in the world of jewelry design. Experts agree that Gurhan’s techniques are a success. He has taken an ancient craft and revolutionized it with the benefits of modern technology without compromising the integrity of the ancient legacy.
Why do some websites call the product “high carat” or “22K”?
The reason for this is that in the UK the assaying standards require UK sellers to describe the product based on the lowest karat present in any individual piece. Because our clasps, earring posts and clips are 22K, the sellers are required to declare the karat weight of our jewelry as 22K whereas in fact the jewelry is really 24K, with 22K clasps/posts/clips.
What material is used for earring posts?
Earring posts, hooks, clips and some clasps are made in 22K Gold. As these parts of the jewelry are subject to more usage and therefore more stress, Gurhan prefers to use this alloyed gold to add strength to the part. Earring push backs are sterling silver with 24K Gold plating. (Real gold backs are available at an additional cost. Please contact us for details.)
What is special about 24K Gold?
It’s Pure! The metals contain no additives or alloys to detract from its natural beauty. Gold is commonly known in karat weights of 22, 18, 14 and 9. To achieve these various karat weights, another metal is added or “alloyed” to the gold, diluting the purity of the metal. For example, 18K Gold is, by weight, only 75% gold with the balance being some combination of silver, copper or palladium.
Isn’t 24K Gold too soft for jewelry?
If the proper techniques are used, the metal is NOT too soft. The technical aspects of design are as important as the aesthetics of the jewelry for Gurhan, who has made a mission of perfecting the art of working in 24K Gold. When the right techniques are used with pure gold, the result is a strong and durable metal. The best testimonial to the enduring quality of pure gold can be found in the museums of the world where most jewelry that has survived for centuries is 24K Gold. It is important to note that not all 24K Gold has undergone this technique perfected by Gurhan. For a 100% guarantee of quality, technical integrity, and purity of design, always look for the GURHAN logo.
What is GURHAN’s method for working with 24K Gold?
The gold is heated (annealed) to around 800 degrees Celsius at the beginning to soften it, allowing it to be shaped. When it gets to its final shape it is hammered to harden it. The last hardening process is to allow the semi-finished piece to age for 24-36 hours in an oven at 350-400 degrees Celsius. Gurhan has not only taken the original techniques of the ancient goldsmiths, but he has improved upon them in many ways which are proprietary to his methods of production.
How are the pieces hallmarked?
Our pieces are hallmarked .990 which represents the purity of the gold. The GURHAN logo is engraved on each item as well as an item number. The Item number is unique to each piece; no two pieces will ever have the same item number.
Are large gold forms solid, hollow or filled with something else?
Some of the large gold forms are made hollow and need to be structurally reinforced and may be filled with other material for integrity (see description of ancient techniques above).
What is the black material in the silver & gold line?
Most of the blackened material seen is Black Rhodium. This is a precious metal that is electroplated onto the silver to give it the blackened color. Some pieces are oxidized, which is a chemical treatment which is used if they are unable to be plated with the rhodium. Both have the same long lasting effect.
What quality diamonds does Gurhan use?
When it comes to brilliant cut diamonds, in gold jewelry he uses G/VS1 and in silver H/S1. But many of his designs feature diamond briolettes, rosecuts, slices and beads as well as black and other colored diamonds. These unusual cuts are not graded in the same way as regular brilliant cut diamonds and their charm is less about the indicia of grade and more about the shapes and beauty when combined with Gurhan’s designs.
Where is the jewelry made?
Gurhan moved to the United States in 1997, leaving behind his workshop in Istanbul for his new studio in New York City. He now maintains workshops in both Istanbul and New York. Workers in both cities join together in the making of the jewelry.
Care and Repairs
How do I care for my jewelry?
24K Gold is a soft metal so extra care must be taken to avoid dents and deformation. Gurhan uses techniques designed to minimize such damage (such as using structural reinforcements and hammering), but as a proud GURHAN collector, be mindful of the inherent qualities of pure gold.
- to store link necklaces and bracelets flat to avoid deformation
- to close chains to prevent knotting
- to pack items separately as if kept together in a close place, frequent rubbing against other items may damage the surface
- to keep items of jewelry separated when storing as silver oxides emit in closed containers and may also cause other items of jewelry to darken
- guard against earring backs being bent by packing carefully with flat hammered elements (such as GURHAN’s iconic Willows, Lush, Clove, and Flakes) as they will bend if subject to pressure. If they do bend you can gently and easily press them between your fingers to straighten them out
- to avoid sharp impacts, especially if item contains soft stones such as opal or emerald
To clean gold jewelry that is not threaded and/or does not include any soft gemstones, or pearls, soak for 15 minutes in a solution of two cups warm water and a few drops of a mild dishwashing liquid. Gently rub with a cotton swab. For more abrasive cleaning (only if needed), brush gently with a baby toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly with warm water, and dry with a soft cloth.
To clean silver jewelry that is not threaded, rinse in warm water and pat dry. If white silver is tarnished, use a silver-polishing cloth or silver-cleaning fluid, such as Goddard’s Silver Dip (available at drugstores). (Do not use silver cleaner on blackened silver as it may lose its color. Silver cleaner won’t harm gold and platinum, but it won’t clean them, either.) For jewelry with intricate designs, use a silver-cleaning paste, which can get into small crevices. (Don’t use toothpaste or other abrasive cleaners, which will scratch.) Wipe with a clean, soft cloth. Moisture speeds the tarnishing process so ensure your jewelry is dry before putting it away.
I know silver tarnishes, but what happens if my gold tarnishes?
All metals, and some stones, acquire a patina when worn. This patina may vary from one wearer to another as everyone has different oils and chemicals on their skin. This is a normal process and makes the jewelry your very own. If you wish your item of jewelry to be returned to the original look, please have an authorized retailer send it to GURHAN to perform the restoration.
Why can’t anyone resize a GURHAN ring?
All repairs or alterations must be completed by GURHAN or the lifetime warranty will be voided.
In reference to rings specifically, some people feel that their jeweler is “good” and they should be able to make the adjustment. Typically sizing can be done by any qualified jeweler on gold which contains an alloy and is not pure, such as 18K. Good jewelers are extremely skilled in such a metal. 24K Gold is a different story altogether.
The more important issue here is that as Gurhan is one of the original pioneers of using 24K Gold in jewelry, something everyone said originally couldn’t be done because the metal was considered too soft. He is among a very elite few whom understand the metal and therefore the techniques needed to master it. If a person does not personally know 24K Gold intimately along with knowing and understanding Gurhan’s personal techniques, they will cause irreparable damage to the ring.
I need a piece to be repaired. Who should I contact?
Each piece of GURHAN jewelry is a precious object made from the noblest of materials while subscribing to the highest standards of excellence in craftsmanship. To maintain the integrity of GURHAN jewelry and uphold the lifetime warranty, all repairs, alterations, resizing, or any changes to the original form or condition of a GURHAN item may only be performed by GURHAN. The warranty is limited to the repair and/or replacement at GURHAN’s discretion and is only valid when the product is delivered to GURHAN. For repair information, please contact us at [email protected] Upon receipt of the piece, it will be evaluated and charges will be assessed. Please note our repair department will inform you of the charge and require approval before starting any work.
Authenticity and Warranty
What are the terms of the warranty? GURHAN offers a lifetime warranty on all pieces of jewelry for defects in manufacturing and materials but not for normal wear and tear. What makes the warranty void?
The GURHAN warranty is voided if repair work is done to an item of GURHAN jewelry by anyone other than GURHAN. Additionally, the warranty is voided if the customer alters the piece in any way.
What is a “Certificates of Authenticity” and do you provide them?
A Certificate of Authenticity is official documentation provided by GURHAN verifying that a particular item is an original GURHAN design and production. To obtain this, it is necessary for you to provide a photograph of the item as well as its Item number, engraved on the piece.
Where can I find the unique item number?
A unique item number is engraved on each piece of GURHAN jewelry, a mark of its authenticity as a genuine GURHAN piece. Following is information on where you can find the item numbers:
- Necklaces, Pendants, and Bracelets: Item number is generally found near the clasp or on the GURHAN logo tag.
- Rings: Item number is found engraved on the inside of the band.
- Earrings: Item number is generally found on the back of the earring or on the bezel when a stone is featured.
- Should you have trouble finding the item number on your piece of GURHAN jewelry, contact [email protected] and a customer service representative will assist you.
Do you provide Insurance Valuation Letters?
Yes, we can provide Insurance Valuation Letters with current pricing. Please contact Customer Relations at [email protected]
Do your provide Appraisals?
No, GURHAN is not a certified appraiser and is not authorized to provide an official appraisal or certification as to stone quality or details apart from carat weight. A formal stone or value appraisal can be obtained through your authorized jeweler or the Gemological Institute of America.
Other questions? Email us at [email protected] and we will answer them!