Deniz Gurdalis, the designer behind the UK-based sustainable jewelry brand Ottoman Hands, is likely a bit of a history buff — after all, the "Ottoman" part of the brand's name is a literal nod to the Ottoman Empire, which ruled much of the area where Europe, Asia, and Africa converge from the 14th to the early 20th centuries. (The "Hands" part of the name honors the brand's slow, hand-crafted process.) What results from this unique blend of ideas is a vast collection of gilded baubles that blend contemporary design with ancient influences: Think pieces leaning into opulence, flourishes, and maximalism. There are red ruby, blue lapis, and emerald green gemstones punctuated by ornate sunburst, the "evil eye" amulet is one of the brand's best-selling motifs, and Greek goddesses like Aphrodite and Demeter are the showstoppers of pendant necklaces.
For such statement pieces, what's most bedazzling about Ottoman Hands is how radically affordable the jewelry brand is — most everything is well under $100. (And if you sign up for the brand's newsletter, you get an extra 10% off your first order.) Somehow, the brand has been able to maintain its sustainable ethos while also keeping gentle price points. All of the jewelry pieces (except for the very small components) are made from recycled metals: either 21K gold-plated brass or 18K gold-plated sterling silver (the silver comes from silversmiths in India who melt down old silver into new pieces). Everything else is hand-crafted by artisans based in Istanbul, which means by default most pieces are in limited quantity.
Beyond using recycled materials, Ottoman Hands is also mindful of its carbon footprint — the brand went carbon neutral for all online orders just last year, explaining that it wants to focus on removing, instead of simply offsetting, carbon. "To do this, we fund high-impact companies like Running Tide and Remora through the Shopify Sustainability Fund to make a real impact on our Earth," the site states. When it comes to purpose-driven partnerships, Ottoman Hands also supports organizations like Trillion Trees, Work for Good, and Royal Trinity Hospice that gives back to the community.
While we always appreciate an eco-conscious accessories brand, where the brand truly excels is its designs. The Ottoman Hands aesthetic teeters on making a statement without being too over the top — the pieces are like tweenage versions of cocktail jewelry minus any of the gaudiness. Ottoman Hands offer the ideal amount of bling to elevate a simple white T-shirt or to amp up a night-on-the-town look. (If you'd like further inspiration when it comes to Ottoman Hands' versatility, you can find these antique-inspired pieces frequently turn up on shows like House of the Dragon, Emily in Paris, and Sex Education.)
If an Ottoman Empire-inspired jewelry brand is one definition of fashion or history repeating itself, you can most certainly count us in.
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