Postcards From… Turkey
Jewelry designer Robindira Unsworth often travels great distances in the name of creative inspiration for her Sonoma-based eponymous line. Her passport includes stamps from such destinations as Morocco and Jordan, and she’s also logged miles across stretches of the ocean floor wearing scuba gear. “So long as I’m out in the world, inspiration comes my way,” says Unsworth who recently returned from Turkey.
The daughter of a documentary filmmaker, Unsworth remembers taking exotic trips with her family from a young age. “They were incredible opportunities,” she says. And each has inspired her line. Her design process begins with “a series of shapes and textures.” And truthfully, the designer who also manages a showroom in New York, another in Los Angeles, a newly re-launched online store and her boutique and atelier in Petaluma is always conjuring up images from her travels. “There’s always a story, a color palette in my mind. Then I sit down and create from there,” she says. But between the flights and itineraries, she also notes that designing a collection in its entirety takes months. Luckily, Unsworth’s husband Robert is also her business partner and her three-year-old daughter India is logging her share of frequent flyer miles as well. Together, they are an eager three, constantly searching for creative impulse. “Design is what we live for,” she said, “Creating objects of beauty that inspire others to live a rich, full life is what makes us feel alive.”
Lately, Unsworth has been seeking out rare gems for her new fine jewelry line. Most recently, she was spotted in Tucson, carefully selecting organic turquoise and pearls. Her favorite pieces of the moment include new diamond slice necklaces that are framed by even smaller champagne diamonds and precious metals. Regardless of the projects at hand, the family doesn’t miss a chance to travel. And Turkey had long been on Unsworth’s list of places to visit. “I was in heaven exploring the endless corridors of the Grand Bazaar, losing myself within the maze of hundreds of local vendors,” she says. “I was in search of truly unique hand-crafted pieces and found success.” Here, Unsworth shares the rest of her favorite haunts from her Turkish getaway.
By Ellie June
WITT ISTANBUL HOTEL We rested our heads each night at this wonderfully chic boutique hotel. Nestled in a cozy neighborhood in walking distance from Taksim Square, it was the perfect combination of cozy and cosmopolitan. I loved the midcentury modern vibe of our suite and its rooftop deck overlooking the Bosphorus was the perfect place to unwind at the end of the day with a crisp glass of white wine.
ADEM BABA We loved the impressive selection of fresh fish, expertly prepared and delicious when paired with fresh salads. It was the perfect fare to satisfy our travel-stoked appetites.
ULUS 29 Tasty and fresh Mediterranean cuisine and arguably the best al fresco dining experience with a panoramic view of the Bosphorus.
HAGIA SOPHIA As a lover of Byzantine Architecture, I had long dreamed of experiencing the Hagia Sophia in person and it was more spectacular than I ever could have imagined. The detailed mosaics, intricate carvings, beautiful Islamic script and the spectacular scale of the building was so impressive. I fell in love with detailing in the exotic ironwork, and, upon my return, created a Byzantine Starburst design in homage to the beautiful shape.
TOPKAPI PALACE An absolute treasure trove of Ottoman art and ancient jewelry. I was particularly drawn to the intricately tiled walls that adorn the property both inside and out, and the vibrant Mediterranean hues of blues and greens with stunning Byzantine designs.
THE BLUE MOSQUE A spectacular visual journey, the majestic domes are surrounded by minarets climbing to the heavens. It’s so inspiring that human hands were responsible for its creation.
BASILICA CISTERN A mysterious cavern underneath the center of the city, the gorgeous warm hues of otherworldly light bring to mind Byzantine times. It’s a perfectly romantic spot to steal a kiss if you are with your honey.
Pictured: Robindira Unsworth
Photo courtesy of Robindira Unsworth