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Iconic jeweler to visit Sanibel

By Staff | Mar 25, 2015

Dan Schuyler (left) and Gurhan Orhan in a visit at the designer’s New York home. Mr. Orhan is in Sanibel March 27-28. PHOTO PROVIDED

One of the world’s more important jewelry designers will visit Sanibel at the end of the month.

Gurhan Orhan will be at the Lily & Co. Jewelers shop March 28 for a meet and greet, to laser inscribe his line of jewelry between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. He’ll also be at Lily & Co. March 27 for an invitation-only cocktail event.

The New York-based designer’s visit is important because he rarely appears publicly. His fashions are worn by the world’s exalted, currently carried at such places as Neiman Marcus and Saks. And, of course, Lily. Few jewelers work in pure gold.

This will be his second visit to Sanibel, Lily co-owner Dan Schuyler said.

Mr. Ohran “was overwhelmed by what we do on this little island,” Schuyler said of the famed jeweler’s visit in 2014. “We’re very excited to have him back.”

The Turkish-born Gurhan Orhan, known in the industry by his first name, started making jewelry after becoming charmed with the look and feel of pure gold. He’s headquartered in New York City. His line is priced less than $500 to more than $100,000. Performers and the fashionable wear his jewelry at public events. Their photos are displayed on his website, as are fashion layouts that Gurhan himself photographs. His empire generates millions in annual sales.

Before designing jewelry, Gurhan was an engineer and owned nightclubs. The story is that handling a sheet of pure gold, he shifted gears. He studied the tools that goldsmiths used thousands of years ago, which were made of wood, bones and even seeds and has adopted and modified them to make his own jewelry. His experience in tinkering with watches also dovetailed with the eventual move into jewelry.

Gurhan eventually moved from his native Istanbul to the United States and set up a company in 1997 with his wife Fiona Tilley as president. The couple are recognized as among the world’s elite, moving in fashionable circles, appearing with their dog, Tipsy, at events. The pet accompanied them in last year’s visit to Sanibel.

Schuyler met Gurhan at a tennis event in Arizona in 2014. That Gurhan has a soft spot for tennis and pets — Lily’s social face is a dog — didn’t hurt when he asked the designer to make an appearance in Sanibel, Schuyler said.

And that Sanibel is a top destination for world travelers helped, Schuyler said.

“Coming over that causeway,” he said, “you’re in a different zone. And (Gurhan/Fiona) recognize that.”

Details on the Gurhan visit are at 472-2888.