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A talk with British Iranian jewelry designer Leyla Abdollahi

Being influenced by two different cultures certainly had its advantages when it comes to British-Iranian jewelry designer, Leyla Abdollahi.

For a start, a sharp ‘out-of-the-box’ curiosity that explains why Leyla has been revelling so effortlessly at experimenting with what is technologically feasible.

It seems that a “no” is never a good answer for this visionary jewelry designer. If paint were her medium, she would definitely be an old master focusing on purposeful details and layers, as shown in all her pieces. Comes next the sheer variety of influences that inform each phantasmagorical piece of her collection. Her designs are indeed known for their flamboyant colour schemes, strong characteristics, versatility, flowing lines, and dramatic narratives.

Having studied BA (Hons) in Jewellery design at Central Saint Martin’s University of Arts, London, Leyla launched her eponymous brand in 2011 and unsurprisingly soon after, she started garnering accolades and prizes. She was most notably named Jewellery Designer of the Year at the UK Jewellery Awards 2012, a title that has since been cemented.

What makes you passionate about your jewelry design?
I have always appreciated and loved the creative process. A drive and desire for art and the pursuit of artistic excellence is a natural instinct, which has pushed me to pursue my career as a designer, and creator. When one’s creations get acknowledged, and appreciated by others, it makes the process of jewelry design even more exciting and fulfilling.

– What are the most exciting aspects of being a fine jewelry designer?
Being a creator in this creative world. Bringing to life artistic ideas through creative thoughts and processes. Playing a significant part in people’s happiness in their special moments, whether it’s an engagement, wedding or any other special occasion.

Leyla Abdollahi

– Leyla Abdollahi collections are very strong for both their backstory and contained extravagance: where do you find such riveting inspiration?
I think I mostly relate to an artist. As with all artists and creative types, inspiration comes from many different quarters, but ultimately I believe it is one’s own experiences born out of dreams and ambitions that truly play a part in defining how we express ourselves through our creations.

– How long does it take to perfect a design?
It depends. Sometimes the first idea and design can be perfect, whereas in some cases it will take quite a long time to develop a design, and to be completely satisfied with all aspects of the final outcome.  Besides, there is no particular color or technique that I use frequently as a signature. I believe ones’ style in design should be so unique and distinctive, that it becomes the signature.

What is the best advice you would give women when it comes to choosing their fine jewelry?
I advise according to the occasions they are choosing the jewelry for. For instance if they are choosing an engagement ring, I always advise to go for a comfortable style and fit. Then to choose the stone, shape and color, so they don’t get bored or tired of seeing it on everyday.

Other than that I would like to encourage her or him to think unconventionally and go for a distinctive unique style rather than a safe choice. I advise them to choose boldly yet wisely so that they get to enjoy their purchases thoroughly.

What is your main next ambition?
To turn this into an internationally known and respected brand. But I feel my journey has only just begun, so am willing to be patient and continue doing what I do and just strive for excellence every step of the way…

–  Interview conducted by OLIVIER DUPON -Author of several books all published by Thames & Hudson, including The New Jewelers (2012).

Leyla Abdollahi
Kallirhoe ring mounted on rose and white gold with white and brown diamonds, rubies baguette and morganite cushion cut
Leyla Abdollahi
Lust and Lure bracelet mounted on white and yellow gold with emeralds and white diamonds
Leyla Abdollahi
Hera earings mounted on white gold with diamonds, quartz and amethyst
Leyla Abdollahi
Peitho earings mounted on yellow gold with tanzanites, white sapphires and tahitian pearls