The Importance Of Originality In Jewelry Design
by Hania Kuzbari
What does it mean to be original? As a fine jewelry designer, this is a question I often ask myself. We live in a world of mass consumption, globalisation of arts and culture and accessible media. With each passing day, the risk of copying ideas becomes more and more common.
We’re constantly scrolling on our phones and consuming new trends that fade as quickly as they came, especially in the fashion realm. The fast fashion industry has been growing at rates we can no longer keep up with. With this, it becomes easier and more convenient for labels to replicate ideas. As the industry continues to evolve, we must remember to be true to ourselves in order to achieve originality in everything we do.
Everyone is beautifully unique, so naturally, our own culture and experiences shape us and allow us to express them in art. When I’m creating my jewelry, my process speaks to me, my culture and my lived experiences. This can most notably be seen in my Arabesque collection. Arabesque motifs can be identified by the rhythmic patterns of intertwining foliage and curvilinear lines. Growing up in Syria, Arabesque is the art that decorated the plates I ate from, the fabrics in my family home, the roofs and rooms. It lived with me and watched me grow. In my jewelry, I reimagine these nostalgic shapes with ethically-sourced pink and green tourmalines and solid 18k gold.
Our handcrafting process also pays homage to my Middle Eastern heritage. Our Jordan atelier employs skilled Syrian artisans, masters in the art of metalwork and stone setting. All of our pieces are made using traditional techniques from the region of the ancient Levant, where the art of jewelry-making began in 500 B.C.
Each piece is designed around specific gemstones like our signature tourmaline or composite materials like Mother of Pearl. My design process starts by laying out the gemstones I intend to make the piece with. The gemstone choice stems from an emotional place. I truly care about the sourcing of each precious gemstone and only work with only ethically-sourced gemstones, personally visiting all our suppliers. Stepping inside the factories and workplaces that cut the gems means I am able to ensure our pieces are created responsibly. For each design, I select specific colors that embody the sentiment and story I want to convey.
From there I begin drawing, incorporating shapes and elements, focusing on the motifs and dainty handcraft detailing I learnt as a child from the teachings of my grandmother. My grandmother, Aziza, introduced me to working with my hands at a young age, encouraging me to make bold moves in the world of jewelry design. Her encouragement was the first step towards honing my craft as an artisan. From the age of 7, a creative bond was formed through our love of sewing, where I developed an eye for fine details, materials, textures and shapes.
My knowledge of metals was passed down from my parents who worked in the metalworks business. Eventually, this knowledge translated into working with jewelry. Soldering, casting and mixing metals in miniature form. Fine jewelry and metalwork both require steady hands and an exact eye for detail. The years I spent choosing threads and materials for my grandmother's works developed my ability to pair complementary metals together. In my designs I mix stones, cuts and settings, creating cohesive and harmonious works of art.
I’m often inspired by color. The art form of fusing different shades, contrasting colors and uncommonly paired materials is fascinating to me. Seamlessly blending original designs with colors, shapes and textures to represent culture and history is one way to ensure your designs are uniquely you. Although it can be challenging, experimenting with different metals, colors and gemstone cuts is what motivates me to create. The end result of the artistic journey is a harmonious piece that is meticulously designed.
Creating pieces built on love, passion and honesty is key to being original. Since every individual has a story, not only is our art personal to us, but also the way we interpret others’ work. No matter how many new ideas are thrown into the fashion sphere or others try to replicate your designs, your work should forever be an embodiment of your own sentiments, memories and experiences.
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