Turkish designer Ece Şirin’s fascination with symbolism has led her to design an array of bejewelled bees.
Ece Şirin’s had an extremely successful career working with mega-brands such as Microsoft and Coca-Cola prior to redefining herself as a creator and entrepreneur. Although she enjoyed material success working with these global brands, Ece wanted to do something more meaningful that would bring her spiritual fulfilment.
The desire for “more power, abundance, success and joy” also led her to India. “I studied in India and was very fortunate to meet with Sadhguru of Isha Foundation, while I was there.” Ece’s fascination with symbolism started as part of her spiritual journey.
And in 2008, her spiritual quest evolved into the creation of a fine jewellery brand rooted in talismanic symbols. “My dream was to create a global brand to promote joy, fulfillment, and connection – my mission is to empower and inspire people by finding and expressing their inner light through the power of symbols.”
The inspiration for her jewellery label, Bee Goddess, is drawn from the Bee Goddess, “who was the mother of all goddesses from Catalhöyük, Anatolia – the first settlement in the world, dating back to BC 7500,” she explains.
Ece’s first collection included symbols from sacred geometry and 12 different goddesses. The designer brought together archetypal symbols of mythology, alchemy and their sacred meanings and infused it into contemporary jewels that inspired people to “write their life myths.”
There has been a huge interest in their talismanic creations with the onset of the pandemic, “and its uncertainty created huge stress on us – a threat to our health, safety and freedom,” says Ece. “People wanted to connect to a power for protection and it opened the path to the talismans more than ever.” The Bee Goddess jewels are a symbol of the soul, she adds. “The value of each piece of Bee Goddess jewellery is not measured by its carats, but by the light in the heart of the one who wears it.”
The Honey Collection is perfect for Spring – how have you reimagined the bee motifs in the new line?
The Honey collection includes many inspiring designs this year, including an array of different bees to reflect the variety in the hive. There are bees depicted in very rare blue diamonds. I’ve also focused much more on the honeycomb in this latest range – a powerful symbol for spring. The bee’s honeycomb is a hexagon that represents the heart (in sacred geometry, six was believed to be the number harmony of love related to the goddesses Aphrodite and Venus).
There are over 130 pieces in the Honey collection crafted 14- and 18-karat rose gold and precious gems. Our new Honeycomb cocktail rings feature tourmaline, amethyst, peridot, citrine, and orange sapphire. We have also used intricate layering techniques in craftmanship. Each gemstone represents different powers, and our queen bee connects us to that colour and power. The jewellery is carefully handcrafted by our master craftsmen in our atelier in Istanbul’s covered bazaar using 5000-year-old goldsmithing skills, which have been passed down from generation-to-generation.
How have you harnessed the power of the Queen Bee talisman – and how representational is it for you, considering we are still in the midst of the pandemic?
I love bees as they represent miracles, hope, creativity, community living and intelligence, as well family, motherhood, and the goddess.
The symbolism of queen bee is very deep. Honey making process is transforming light into honey, and in esoteric symbolism, bees teach us to see the light in everything we do and make life sweet as honey. They are hard workers, and they serve their community in selfless way, but they have fun. The Queen Bee is an emblem of feminine power, beauty, spiritual wisdom, rebirth, and rejuvenation. Symbolising the wisdom of the soul, she brings the Spirit into our daily lives, something I have drawn on myself during the pandemic.
Interestingly, in ancient Greece, priestesses in the temple of Demeter, goddess of abundance, were called the Melissai (bees).
In India, the goddess Bhramari’s name means ‘bees.’ Believers know that she resides inside the heart chakra, where the sound that is emitted resembles the buzzing of bee. Prana, the divine force inherent to the breath, is often depicted as a circle of bees. Lord Krishna is often depicted with a blue bee on or above his forehead.
Bee is a symbol of productivity for those who wish to engage a team or create something for the greater good. The hive, which the heart and soul of the bee community, holds a richly nurturing energy that inspires us to work cohesively. By widening our compassion and approaching our practices in a cohesive way, we can create a honeycomb, or the human equivalent, and thus prepare ourselves for the bounty that comes from collaboration.
Bees also imply having a mission; setting goals and engaging in hard work will ensure success. There is confidence and joy in the ‘doing’ as the results are ‘sweet.’
You’ve had a successful run in Istanbul and expanded globally – walk us through your retail footprint.
We started with stores and luxury retailers in Istanbul and around Turkey. In the UK, we launched in Harrods ten years ago and later we opened a boutique in the heart of Chelsea, London. Our second home market is UK because my soulmate, Cemil, is from there and we have a house in London.
We have a loyal customer base in the USA, which is a very important market for us. We are in Neiman Marcus and in luxury concept stores Maxfield, Amaree’s and Atelier Martyn Lawrence Bullard in Los Angeles. We are also spreading the Bee Goddess magic in Asia with Lane Crawford as well as growing our footprint in the Middle East. We now have 12 mono boutiques and points of sale throughout Europe, Asia, and the USA.
Last year, we opened two new flagship boutiques in Turkey, including a store in the prestigious Zorlu Centre in Istanbul and a second at Yalikavak Marina, Bodrum. We have two new openings, including a store in Istanbul’s breath-taking new harbourside development Galataport and a shop at The Palm Raffles Hotel in Dubai. This year, we will be expanding further with exciting plans for six new outlets around Europe, including in Mykonos, Monte Carlo and London.