Vail: Passionate about 24-karat gold |

Vail: Passionate about 24-karat gold

VAIL, Colorado ” The Squash Blossom in Vail, Colorado is hosting a trunk show featuring 24-karat gold designer Gurhans Orhan’s jewelry. The jewelry exhibits the signature designs and the unique hand-hammered craftsmanship of the jewelry artist who goes simply by Gurhan.

When Gurhan touched pure gold for the first time, it so electrified him he knew he’d discovered a life-long passion. He spent a year researching Byzantine and Anatolian metalsmithing dating back 7,000 years, and made the decision he would never work in less than 24-karat gold.

“It’s almost an obsession for me to conquer the limitations and difficulties of working with 24-karat gold,” Gurhan said. “The process of solving the many problems of using pure gold is a significant part of what I do, and it often dictates the parameters of my designs.”

He said his secret to working with pure gold is turning what seem to be limitations into advantages.

Gurhan’s use of 24-karat gold is not the only thing that makes his jewelry unique. All of his designs are 100 percent handmade. He takes pride in the fact that he, alone, makes all the prototypes for his designs.

“Only when a piece is complete and I have addressed all of the design issues do I even consider handing it over to one of my goldsmiths to make any subsequent pieces,” Gurhan said.

While Gurhan has a studio with assistants, he won’t hire anyone with previous jewelry experience, as he doesn’t want anything to interfere with the ancient techniques he uses.

One design element that Gurhan does not employ is the use of sketching as a starting point for new pieces. Instead, he goes directly to the bench.

“I need to have the gold and the stones in front of me,” Gurhan said. “Sometimes design ideas that might be aesthetically wonderful are a challenge with 24-karat gold. So I must think technically. I know that most designers sketch first, but for me, design is so technical, so three-dimensional, that I am most comfortable starting with my imagination and then translating it into something tangible at the bench.”

The trunk show features many one-of-a-kind pieces. New collections for 2009 include rose cut fancy sapphires, emeralds, ancient scarabs and opals. The collection will be on display through March 30. Call 970-476-3129 for more information.

What: Trunk show with jewelry designer Gurhan

Where: The Squash Blossom, 198 Gore Creek Drive, Vail

When: Now through March 30

More information: Call 970-476-3129 or visit

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