Tuesday, March 2, 2010


An astounding structure built during the mid 1400s, the Rumelli Fortress in Turkey is a marvel of Byzantine architectural influences.

Over the centuries, it has undergone several renovations and presently houses a museum. Turkey is also the home base for jewelry brand Jewel House of Minyon or Atelier Minyon.

For many years, Istanbul's Grand Bazaar has been a longstanding center where Turkish jewelry designers like Gurhan Orhan go to sell splendid baubles of 24-karat gold.

With the historical architecture of Greece and Rome serving as inspirational sources, designers create jewelry of great beauty and artistry.

In the last 27 years, Turkey has emerged as a formidable force in the jewelry industry offering hand fabricated creations. The Jewel House of Minyon, a jewelry retailer and manufacturer that has operated for a little over four decades, is one such force in the industry.

As a youth Alp Sagnak, the company's present Creative Director, observed as his elders followed their aspirations and established the jewelry house.

Though Sagnak boasts a degree in industrial engineering, he not only learned the business side of the family company but also developed skills as a goldsmith and gemologist. He renders magnificent creations of 18- and 24-karat yellow gold paying homage to sultans, Ottoman artifacts, and English emblems.

Like many Turkish designers such as Yossi Harari, Yeliz Titiz, and design duo Nersel & Irene, the company's jewelry evokes bygone eras filled with the essence of valor, gallantry, and royalty.

Like Portuguese designer Ana Cavalheiro, viewing the Minyon brand is like walking through a time portal with medieval imagery of protective shields, gem encrusted skulls, and the traditional Tudor Rose emblem. The jewelry is unmistakably feminine but at the same time, the pieces hold a commanding, masculine aspect in their design structure.

As part of Sagnak's plan to extend the brand to the United States, he collaborated with American industrialists Mark Nyman and Elizabeth Genel after the two became enthralled with the jewelry while on a trip to Turkey.

In December 2008, the company's first U.S. flagship store, located in SoHo, New York, officially opened.
Photo 1 (top right): 24-Karat Yellow Gold and Diamond Shield Cuff
Photo 2 (bottom left): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Ring with Diamonds
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