Turquoise Mountain Afghanistan Artisans Launch Jewellery Collection with Ottoman Hands

We are thrilled to share the latest collaboration between our Afghan artisans and British jewellery brand, Ottoman Hands. The collection – comprising rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings – takes inspiration from heritage Afghan craft and design.

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The Leya Lapis Tear Drop Necklace, and the Farah Lapis Crescent Moon Necklace

To celebrate the partnership, we caught up with Ottoman Hands founder, Deniz Gurdal, to discuss collaboration, craftsmanship, and the importance of supporting Afghan skills and heritage.

How did the collaboration between Ottoman Hands and Turquoise Mountain begin?

I first came across Turquoise Mountain in Paris at a jewellery trade show. Ottoman Hands was exhibiting at the show, and I remember spotting the Turquoise Mountain stand with its colourful and beautiful jewellery collection. I contacted the team in 2020 to discuss a potential collaboration and our production meetings started. Unfortunately, since then there have been significant political and societal changes in the region, however it was so reassuring to see how Turquoise Mountain was absolutely committed to staying and working in Afghanistan and continuing to support the artisans and staff during these difficult times. It has been an absolute pleasure working with Turquoise Mountain on this collection. It’s great to know that the jewellery that’s made in Kabul by our friends helps train artisans and creates jobs for the people of Afghanistan.

Ottoman Hands famously supports jewellery artisans from small workshops. Why is this craftsmanship so important to you?

Since the brand was established, every piece of our jewellery has been handcrafted by skilled artisans in small workshops. This is one of the main characteristics of our brand, which I am very proud of. When we produce a handcrafted piece, I know that we create more jobs for local people, support the jewellery-making traditions, the artisans, and their families. I know that someone spends real time and energy to make each piece. For me, every piece tells a story about the designer, the maker, and the wearer.

The blue lapis lazuli in the collection is very striking, and often seen in Afghan jewellery designs. What is the significance of this special stone?

I always loved Lapis Lazuli and its deep blue colour. Lapis Lazuli has been used in many ornamental objects and jewellery throughout the region’s history, so the pieces set with Lapis Lazuli reminds me of jewellery from different times and it always has a vintage feel.

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Credit: Andrew Quilty for Turquoise Mountain

How long does it take to make the pieces?

Depending on the design, it takes around half a day to make one piece from cutting the metal, to soldering, to stone setting and polishing. We should all appreciate the amount of time and hard work that goes into creating a piece of handmade jewellery, it is what makes our pieces unique.

Sustainable jewellery production is of great importance to both Turquoise Mountain and Ottoman Hands. How does the collection achieve this?

At Ottoman Hands, we are committed to being a sustainable jewellery brand. We always look to minimise our environmental impact and look for every possible way to do this. Jewellery made in small batches helps us to not over stock and always offer our followers something new and exciting throughout the season.

What was the inspiration behind the pieces?

The inspiration behind the pieces came from Turquoise Mountain’s main collection. I love the artisans’ designs and how the pieces reflect Afghan heritage. I took the main geometric elements of their intricate pieces and implemented our modern twist to the designs. The small geometric semi-precious stones are handset in Sterling Silver and plated in 18ct gold for classic designs and the big bold geometric Semi Precious Stones are set in 18ct gold plated brass. I am very happy with the result, as there are pieces for everyday wear and also pieces for jewellery lovers who are seeking bigger and bolder designs.

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The Luna Full Moon Reversible Necklace, and the Nila Chrysocolla Squiggle Stud Earrings

The Turquoise Mountain x Ottoman Hands collection is available to buy here.