Zeki Karaca Jewelry: Luxury Pens – Some of the most original work we saw at the GJX show included bejeweled pens made by Turkish designer Zeki Karaca (figure 1). These intricate pens feature exquisite details and fine craftsmanship in metalworking, enameling, engraving, inlay, and stone-setting. In addition to pens, Mr. Karaca also creates other desk items such as letter openers and magnifying glasses (figure 2).
Mr. Karaca has 41 years of jewelry-making experience. He was born in Istanbul and started designing jewelry to sell in the Grand Bazaar. He started making luxury pens and products three years ago to apply his experience to creating different designs and styles. He first ventured into these new products by making silver gemstone handles for Damascus steel knives. After finding success here, he expanded to meet demand for luxury pens, letter openers, and magnifying glasses. He is continuing to explore designing and making additional luxury objects. There is high demand for his products from collectors, and Mr. Karaca has created custom designs for some clients.
Each pen takes about six months to design and craft. All production steps are done by hand, making each item one-of-a-kind. After designing an item, a silver body is created using fold forming, with the folds created using emery sheets. Engraving is executed by a master engraver using different nibbed steel pens. Dimming is used to emphasize the engraving. Diamond, sapphire, emerald, and ruby are incorporated into the designs and 24k gold is used for design highlights. Miniature paintings such as the peacock on the pen cap in Figure 1 (left) are created by hand with a small brush. To protect the paintings, they are coated in transparent enamel. For micro-mosaics, gemstones such as emeralds are crushed and added to the pen body as can be seen on both pens in Figure 1. The pen parts are welded together with a laser, and then the 24k nibs are added.
Jennifer Stone-Sundberg, Mimi Travis
Figure 1 –These jewelry pens are crafted out of silver, embellished with 24 karat gold (the pen nibs are 24 karat gold), and inlaid with diamond, sapphire, and crushed emerald. The peacock design is a miniature painting coated in clear enamel. Note the fine metal engraving with dimming just below the nib on the pen at right. Photo by Robert Weldon, Courtesy of Zeki Karaca.
Figure 2 – Silver magnifying glass with 24-karat gold embellishments, inlay, carvings, and diamonds. Photo by Robert Weldon, Courtesy Zeki Karaca.