Thursday, July 8, 2010


The 15th century fortress Sforza Castle, in Milan, Italy houses the work of the country's most renowned artists including Michelangelo, Andre Mantegna, and Leonardo da Vinci. Italy is also the ancestral home of featured jewelry designer Ariane Arazi.

The granddaughter of the late Italian jeweler Isaac Hasbani, who founded Hasbani Gioielli a little over six decades ago, Arazi's initial fascination with the art of jewelry making began upon numerous visits to her grandfather's Milan workshop.

"At a very young age, I would spend my summers visiting my grandparents.

My grandfather would take me to his office often and show me all the beautiful pieces he was making," she recalls.

"I remember being mesmerized by the beauty, sparkle, and shine of it all. It was so glamorous and I guess I always assumed that one day I would follow in his footsteps."

Though the seeds were planted, the Canada-based Arazi veered off the path for a time studying sociology at Concordia University, and later dabbling in fashion design. "I worked in the fashion industry for a couple of years, but I was not fully content.

I felt there was only so much I could express with clothing. I wanted to be more creative. Jewelry allows that. It is a piece of art that you can wear that never goes out of style," says Arazi.

With the seeds now taking root, Arazi obtained a gemologist diploma from the Gemological Institute of America, and accompanied her uncles, who now helm Hasbani Gioielli, to trade shows to learn more about the business.

"My grandfather was obsessed with quality only using the finest materials. He also had very good relationships with his clients and suppliers/manufacturers," she reveals.

"My uncles followed his example, and that is how I run my business. The most important thing for me is to develop a long and prosperous relationship with my clients. A happy client is a loyal client."

In 2008, Arazi launched her eclectic collections of minimalist yet striking pieces fashioned from white and yellow gold-plated bronze, sterling silver, river shell leaves, cherry and rose quartz, Crystallized Swarovski Elements and cotton wax cords.

In some cases, minimalist designs can lack visual impact, but Arazi's jewelry highlights varied arrangements of simple details. Her keen eye for minutiae is evident from her streamlined, multi-strand necklaces to the bolder, primal arrangement of her Shell Leaves neckpieces to the futuristic panache of her sleek Two-Line Rings.

"I tend to visit my favorite designers' stores and/or websites to see what they are showing that season; what colors and materials they are using. I also tend to observe all details of any object, which sparks my creativity.

The idea for my Dangling Crystal Rings, for instance, came from seeing many actresses, like Angelina Jolie, wearing expensive, colored gemstones.

Instead of using expensive stones, I decided to use crystals and semi-precious gemstones in order to make pieces with affordable price points."

The designer loves to keep evolving her designs giving prospective wearers plenty of options. "I think it's good that I am constantly changing materials and directions. It makes my jewelry line fresh and current. I think it is important to be different.

Making jewelry allows me to express my multi-faceted personality. I can be loud and outspoken at certain times, other times I can be shy and reserved.

I think my jewelry reflects that. I know my grandfather would be very proud if he were here."
Photo 1 (top right): Cherry Quartz Necklace with 14-Karat Gold-Plated Bronze Chain
Photo 2 (center): 14-Karat Gold Plated Sterling SilverDangling Crystal Ring with Green Swarovski Crystals

Photo 3 (bottom left): Gold Satin String Bracelet
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