Monday, September 28, 2015


Marquise Lale Lapis & Sapphire Earrings
with 18K Gold Accents
At over eight hundred years old the majestic Qutb Minar mosque stands prominently in India’s capital city Delhi.  

With a height of 238 feet it is the tallest mosque in the world, and is also renowned for its stunning blend of “Indo-Islamic architecture.”  India is also the ancestral home to featured jewelry designer Shamila Jiwa.

In some cases established designer jewelry brands enlist a signature style or technique to stand apart from their contemporaries.

American jewelry designer Sarah Graham works wonders with blackened steel; Greek designer Giorgio Damaskos replicated a remarkable centuries-old technique that mimics velvety texture on gold; and Australian Ray Griffiths implements stunning “crown-work” details in his work.

With this in mind, Jiwa’s wonderfully buoyant fine jewelry not only features unique gemstones, like chrome tourmaline, but also sublime lapidary work.

Honeycomb, checkerboard, briolette as well as cabochon cuts (some square) are gorgeous samplings.  However, there is also the exquisite detailing of minaret carved gemstones highlighted in her Istanbul-inspired Lokum Lale Luxe Collection

Designs alternate between the delicate buoyancy of her Sunburst dangle earrings with their flirty dance of orange carnelian and small, gold rings; the curved tail shank of her whimsical Mermaid of the Meyhane Ring; and the baroque style of her signature lale/tulip motif carved into the shank of her Pasha Ring.  Jiwa’s immaculate attention to these kinds of details won the Seattle-based jeweler the 2012 Emerging Designer Award at the Centurion Jewelry Show.

Watching her father commission baubles for her mother and sisters during her childhood was the kernel that would ripen into Jiwa’s interest in jewelry making.  Before entering the world of glitter and glamour, however, Jiwa worked on health and environmental issues with a variety of non-profit organizations.

In her part-time, as a creative outlet, she made simple jewelry pieces.  Feeling the magnetic pull of her artistic longings she decided to leave the “social sciences/non-profit world” to design full-time. 

By 2009 she would sojourn to Istanbul, Turkey and found herself enchanted by the city’s energy.  Captivated by the city’s strong ambience she would pursue apprenticeships with Turkish master goldsmiths and was challenged by the meticulous work.  However, perseverance won out and she produced her first collection: Lokum Lale Luxe Collection.

“My first collection was inspired by my time in Istanbul and I was able to show it at New York Fashion Week in 2009.  The collection is a tribute to the city, and the lale motif featured in the designs is a Turkish symbol of beauty and taste.  I launched at a time when the world was facing an economic recession.  I did not want that to deter my plan,” Jiwa recalls.  “I did not want the what-ifs to take over.”

“I use reclaimed gold and tarnish-free sterling silver.  I spend a lot of time hand-selecting unique and beautiful materials.  Fine jewelry is about the flowing together of workmanship, using innovative metals, quality gemstones, design, fit and inspiration. 

I do work with someone on casting and setting more complex designs; but I produce the majority of jewelry myself in my studio.  I want to create pieces that exude elegance.”

2015 Jewelry Trend AlertThe beauty of yellow gold is mesmerizing and Jiwa implements the metal fully in ring bands and accents in chains.  
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