Heavenly bejewelled creations from Istanbul

A Turkish jewellers where eastern exoticism meets western simplicity

Tiredof me lunging for her collarbone, my Turkish hostess rang up the designer ofthe simple, elegant string of rose gold and white diamonds hanging around herneck. An hour later a sleek sedan appeared and off I went into Istanbul’svehicular melée. The car stopped on a steep residential hillside above Bebekand I followed the driver down some leaf-covered steps into a half-mooncourtyard with spectacular views of the Bosphorus. Kismet designer MilkaKaraağaçli bounced out to greet me, her blonde ringlets blown back by the wind revealingbrown diamond and ruby serpent earrings (third picture, £630).

Justas I was lusting after her Kismet signature necklace, a 14-carat gold outlineof angel wings (second picture, £100), the Istanbul-born jeweller told me that peoplewant to buy the very items she is wearing, right there and then, “all thetime”. It has been the case ever since the early days of this, her secondcareer, after a dozen years in advertising.


Themuezzin’s call to prayer rang out across the sky as we walked into the Kismetshowroom where my eyes danced between the pieces, each an unusual blend ofeastern exoticism and western wearable simplicity. While I slid an angel-wingbangle (£340) onto my right wrist, and stacked gold skull, star and dove rings on myfingers, Karaağaçli disappeared into the back. The high-octanedesigner soon returned with a one-of-a-kind diamond seahorse ring (first picture, £4,300), explainingthat it takes her five-man workshop in the Grand Bazaar three weeks to craftthis ruby and diamond encrusted wonder. I was completely seduced by itscurvaceous shape as she slipped the marine creature onto my middlefinger.  

Kismetin Turkish means fate, fortune or luck, and they have certainlybeen in Karaağaçli’s favour since producing the firstdiamond-embellished evil-eye charm necklaces four years ago on a whim for afriend’s private jewellery party in London. She dreamt of seeing Kismet in thecases at Istanbul’s branch of Harvey Nichols and within six months the Kismetevil eye had caught the attention of the store’s buyer.


Myheart actually raced as I tried to decide on just one piece, until I rememberedan age-old yearning to own a Fatima’s Hand ring. The ones I’d seen previously,in places like Morocco, had been too flashy for my gypsy existence, butKismet’s simple and sweet 14-carat gold Fatima’s Hand ring now graces my rightring finger (£165).